H.E. Dr Hala Hameed
Ambassador, Permanent Mission of the Republic of Maldives to the United Nations
at the General Discussion of the Second Committee
on Sustainable Development
9 October 2023
Thank you, Mr. Chair,
Maldives aligns itself with the statements delivered by Cuba on behalf of the G77 and China, and Samoa, on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States.
The defining principle of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a shared promise by every one of us to work together by building partnerships that deliver for people, planet, prosperity, and peace. But halfway to 2030, that promise is in peril.
The Secretary-General’s Report reveals that out of approximately 140 tracked targets, only about 12 per cent are on track, with over half making deviations from their intended trajectory. We must act decisively and immediately.
This year, the Maldives presented its second Voluntary National Review. We highlighted our progress, as well as our challenges, at the High-level Political Forum. We identified digital and physical connectivity as key drivers for sustainable development.
The Maldives is determined to make the digital transformation work for everyone. We have invested in our digital infrastructure. Over the last few years, we have seen great strides in improving accessibility for our people to basic services. The furthest behind has been reached. In this regard, the Maldives looks forward to meaningfully engaging in the intergovernmental process on the global digital compact.
Our Voluntary National Review also highlighted the vulnerability of SIDS, such as the Maldives to external shocks. This, along with our structural vulnerabilities, can only be effectively addressed by improving SIDS’ access to finance. The current SDG financing gap is over trillions of dollars, and more than 40% of SIDS are heavily indebted.
We welcome the SG’s SDG Stimulus Plan and its vision to assist developing countries in achieving their sustainable development aspirations. However, we recognise that an effective long-term solution can only be achieved with reform of the international financial architecture. We call on International Financial Institutions to look beyond GDP Per Capita as the sole basis for the allocation of concessional finance. In this regard, we welcome the advance final report of the Multidimensional Vulnerability Index (MVI) and urge IFIs and development partners to utilise the MVI as a tool for guiding allocations.
The climate crisis continues to pose a severe threat to our sustainable development. It is evident that climate finance remains primarily focused on mitigation, while adaptation finance lags behind, with international financial flows to developing countries falling short of the estimated requirements. In the lead-up to COP28, we call upon the IFIs and development partners to ensure that SIDS and developing countries have access to climate finance for mitigation, adaptation, and addressing loss and damage. We also must work towards an ambitious outcome at the first Global Stocktake.
To avoid breaching irreversible climate tipping points and surpassing planetary boundaries, we urgently need to bridge the emissions gap and uphold the international commitment to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees. We call on our partners in the developed world to enhance their commitments, aligning their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) with the 1.5-degree goal. Despite having minimal emissions, the Maldives has set an example that others can follow, by setting a goal of net-zero emissions by 2030.
The lives of Maldivians are deeply intertwined with the ocean. The Maldives is committed to the preservation of our oceans and marine ecosystems. To this end, we have taken concrete steps to reduce plastic pollution through the phase-out of single-use plastics (SUPs). We urge the international community to finalise an internationally binding agreement on combating plastic pollution and ensure its effective implementation. We also request support to enhance our capacity to ratify and implement the provisions of the recently adopted High Seas Treaty.
Sustainable development for all cannot be achieved without ensuring gender equality is at the front and centre of work. Women must be empowered and given the opportunity to shape decisions that affect us all. They must be given a seat at the table. The Maldives has made significant progress in advancing the rights of women and girls, both at the national and international levels. During our presidency of the 76th Session of the General Assembly, we achieved key milestones towards the promotion of gender equality. This includes the creation of the UNGA Platform of Women Leaders and the refurbishment and addition of lactation rooms here at the United Nations Headquarters. Furthermore, a notable achievement was the adoption of a resolution to establish the International Day of Women in Diplomacy, to be celebrated annually on June 24th, with the support of 191 co-sponsors.
As we look forward to the Fourth International Conference on SIDS scheduled to be held next year, we will work towards bringing issues of mutual importance to the next 10-year programme of action for SIDS. As the Co-Chair of the Preparatory Committee, the Maldives will work to ensure that the Conference is a success, and it delivers for the sustainable development of all SIDS.
In conclusion, Mr. Chair, the Maldives delegation is fully committed to constructively engage in this agenda item with the aim of universal realisation of the 2030 Agenda and leaving no one behind.
I thank you.