H.E. Ahmed Khaleel Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Maldives
at the Commonwealth Foreign Affairs Ministers Meeting
21 September 2023
Thank you, Chair,
Excellencies and esteemed colleagues of the Commonwealth Family,
It is indeed a pleasure to be present here at CFAMM once more, surrounded by our Commonwealth family. We gather today, not only as representatives of our respective nations, but as individuals united by a shared commitment to the principles and values that define the Commonwealth. In a world characterized by both challenges and opportunities, our collective dedication to these principles underscores the critical nature of our collaborative efforts in addressing pressing global issues.
Foremost among these concerns is the imminent crisis of climate change, an issue that resonates profoundly with the Maldives. As a nation composed of low-lying atolls, we find ourselves on the front lines, fighting to survive climate impacts. It is imperative that the Commonwealth's commitment to climate action remains unwavering. This is why, we in the Commonwealth family, must do all we can to operationalize the Loss and Damage Fund in the lead up to COP28. We must redouble our efforts in reducing emissions, championing renewable energy, and offering vital support to vulnerable nations in adapting to the changing climate.
The Maldives also firmly believes that securing the future of our nation is intrinsically linked to responsible stewardship of our precious land and resources. The Commonwealth Living Lands Charter serves as a beacon of hope and progress, propelling us to champion sustainable land management practices.
In a similar vein, the Maldives is also happy to note of our engagement in the Commonwealth Blue Charter. Along with Kiribati, we continue to co-champion the Action Group on Sustainable Coastal Fisheries. We are also members of the Action Group on Mangrove Ecosystems and Livelihoods and the Commonwealth Clean Ocean Alliance. As a “large ocean” state, our commitment towards protecting our oceans, its ecosystems and resources has never been stronger.
Trade, as a cornerstone of the Commonwealth's strength, is another facet of our shared responsibility. In a world marked by economic uncertainty, it is essential that we prioritize inclusive and sustainable trade policies that benefit all member nations. As we navigate the complex terrain of post-pandemic recovery, we must ensure that our trade practices are equitable, fostering economic growth while leaving no one behind. We stand united in acknowledging that our journey to recovery hinges on sustainable economic measures, which must address the root causes of instability: poverty, inequality, and the exclusion of marginalized groups. Our unwavering commitment to empowering women, girls, and individuals with disabilities forms the bedrock of our pursuit towards resilience and sustainable peace.
The call for debt relief is one that echoes through our economies, which teeter on the edge. We must be resolute in calling for debt relief and sustainable debt management. We must also advocate for equitable access to concessional financing and champion the use of the Multidimensional Vulnerability Index. The collective voice of the Commonwealth holds the potential to instigate change within International Financial Institutions.
The spirit of "Commonwealth Supports for Each Other" lies at the heart of our organisation. Confronted with global challenges, we must stand united to provide assistance and solidarity. Whether it is responding to health crises, advancing education, or supporting democratic processes, our shared values should guide our actions.
This month, we were delighted to welcome back election observers from the Commonwealth family to observe our Presidential Elections, for the first time since rejoining in 2020. We welcome the Commonwealth’s engagement and are happy to note that the first round proceeded peacefully and in an orderly manner. We look forward to welcoming back the Commonwealth Observers for the second round later this month.
We also look forward to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Samoa next year and assure the host of our full support in ensuring it is a success.
Let us always remember that the strength of the Commonwealth lies in our unity and our unwavering commitment to addressing the most pressing challenges of our time. Let us, in the true spirit of the Commonwealth, work collaboratively to forge a better, more equitable world for all our citizens.
I thank you.