Thirty-Ninth Annual Meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Group of 77 and China
H.E. Mr Thoriq Ibrahim, Minister of Environment and Energy
New York, 24 September 2015
Madam Chair, Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates,
Development is a continuous process of re-defining our ability to react; a continuous process of becoming resilient to the challenges we face. Development is what we achieve in the process of overcoming adversity, with dogged determination and courage. And the fruits of which are shared by our citizens, but never realised without our friends.
The Republic of Maldives is this year, celebrating fifty years of its independence. It is also celebrating fifty years of its membership at the United Nations. As a nation, we take great pride in where we have managed to come in the past fifty years. And we remain extremely grateful to those that lent us a helping hand, offered wise words of advise: and this Group remains one of the most important partners throughout our development trajectory.
Throughout our journey, we have realised that one lone voice in a sea of noise might not make much of a difference. And we have had to take on many of the “big” issues of our time. When we became independent, we were one of the poorest countries in the world. We had to make our concerns known, our priorities addressed: we needed support. With the tidal waves that engulfed our country’s capital Male’ in 1987, we realised the vulnerability of our country to the forces beyond our control. We started our advocacy on sea level rise, and the plight of small island developing states. When the Indian Ocean tsunami hit the Maldives 6 days before the Maldives was to officially graduate from the UN List of LDCs, causing damage costing up to sixty percent of our GDP in mere minutes, we reiterated the concerns we had been raising about the inadequacy of the graduation criteria. We have been consistent in our call for more and urgent action on climate change; a clear threat to our human rights and our security.
Through it all, the developing world has been a steadfast friend. Together, we have stood in the trenches, raising our voice for the voiceless, the often marginalised, and left out.
For small states such as the Maldives, the unity and solidarity that this Group offers so readily is invaluable. We have seen it first-hand this year, throughout the negotiations for the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the efforts to secure an agreement on climate change in Paris later this year.
Our work has not completed with the adoption of these outcomes. It has just begun.
The High Level Political Forum next year will be an important avenue for developing countries to shape the follow-up and review mechanisms for the FFD process and the Sustainable Development Agenda. We must remain vigilant in ensuring that the necessary means of implementation are delivered, that the commitments made in these documents are honoured. Throughout this process, the Maldives in its capacity as the Chair of the Alliance of Small Island States, has highlighted the importance of the means of implementation. Without this support, we cannot realise this ambitious agenda. And we must ensure that the development gains are measured in the least burdensome, and most efficient manner possible. This is why the design of the follow-up mechanism is important.
Relatedly, it is important that we maintain coherence between all processes, so that all efforts are directed towards one goal, and we don’t duplicate effort, and waste precious resources. This is why we have been so vigilant in ensuring that the SAMOA Pathway, the blue print for the sustainable development of SIDS, is integrated and adequately reflected in all processes.
Let me also touch on an important aspect of the means of implementation: partnerships. While North-South cooperation has been reaffirmed as the core mode of international support, it doesn’t preclude us from reinforcing and reinvigorating South-South cooperation. Genuine and durable partnerships between our countries, will undoubtedly play a crucial role in advancing our core interests, realising sustainable development through harnessing the full potential of engagement at all levels of government, businesses, civil society and other stakeholders. Partnerships are instrumental to mobilise human and financial resources, expertise, technology and knowledge, and powerful drivers of change.
In the spirit of partnership, we remain as always with the Group: ready to cooperate, ready to assist where needed, and lend our voice in support.
Before I finish, on behalf of my Government, we would like to express our appreciation to the Government of South Africa, and the very able team in New York, led by Ambassador Kingsley Mamabolo, for their excellent stewardship of the Group throughout the year. We would like to also express our full confidence to the incoming Chair from the Asia region, the Kingdom of Thailand and commit our full support and cooperation.