Since its inception, the Non-Aligned Movement has always advocated bridging our divides and coming together to solve the common challenges facing humanity.
As we speak, we face challenges on an unprecedented scale. While these challenges are felt keenly globally, it is countries in special situations – LDCs, LLDCs, and SIDS – that bear the disproportionate burdens.
Of the 120 countries comprising NAM, nearly all of them, fall within one of those categories.
The pandemic was an ordeal for us. With our limited resources, we fought to preserve the health of our communities, while leaving our socio-economic institutions intact.
In trying times like these, we were reminded of the necessity of multilateral alliances such as NAM.
Without the assistance of our international partners – including several members of NAM, such as India, Bangladesh, and the United Arab Emirates – the Maldives would not have been able to contain viral spread; expand our healthcare capacity; and rollout a highly effective national vaccination program.
We will need continued assistance of NAM going forward to build a more resilient post-pandemic international architecture. One that is better able to withstand both current and future shocks.
Towards that end, NAM is well-positioned to speak-out on behalf of the specific challenges faced by LDCs, LLDCs, and SIDS. NAM countries, especially SIDS, were forced to divert much of our national resources and financing towards meeting the emergency needs of the pandemic.
This includes financing and resources we had earmarked for investment to meet our national development needs. NAM must take the initiative in making the argument that without direct economic assistance, concessional financing, and much-needed debt-relief, we will fail in our recovery, and in meeting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development on time.
Similarly, we must also collectively emphasize the need for a more sustainable debt-architecture. This can include both extending the loan-moratoriums enacted during the pandemic, or preferably, outright debt-forgiveness.
At this vital time, it is critical that we should be able to mobilize our resources towards addressing the socio-economic fallout of the pandemic and meeting the current and future needs of our communities.
That of course, includes the climate the crisis. At this very moment, several countries within NAM are feeling the effects of flooding, natural disasters, proliferating wildfires, and an accelerating loss in biodiversity.
For SIDS such as the Maldives, we are daily reminded that it is an existential crisis, especially as sea-levels rise. We will need the assistance of NAM, in terms of climate financing and investment in mitigation and adaptation measures.
Finally, it is vital that NAM continues to stand up for the values that it has always advocated: chiefly, the prioritization of peaceful cooperation over our disagreements.
My friends, the challenges of our time are extraordinary and borderless. There is a profound onus on us cooperate.
Now more than ever, we need to come together, for the benefit of our communities and to uphold the multilateral system we hold dear.
NAM can play a leading role in bridging divides, in resolving disputes, and in working together to solve our common challenges.
Rest assured that the Maldives will always support these efforts, and that we will always stay true to the values and principles of NAM.