United Nations Sustainable Development Summit 2015
H.E. Ms. Dunya Maumoon
New York, 27 September 2015
Mr President, [Mr Secretary-General], Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,This is a watershed moment in human history. The hallowed rooms of this building have been abuzz with hope. The air is filled with excitement. This Agenda has captured the imagination of every child, every woman and every man, from every corner of the world. This Agenda has the potential to truly transform our world.There has never been a time more auspicious; there may never have been a time where more leaders would have gathered here. And we must not let this moment go by. It was fifteen years ago, that we made the solemn pledge to free the world from poverty, from disease, discrimination and environmental degradation. Fifteen years later, while our successes are many, so are our challenges. We may have reduced maternal mortality, but women still get paid
24% less than men. We may have reduced the rate of absolute poverty, yet people living in slum like conditions are plenty. We may have protected and safeguarded some of our natural environment, but the carbon emissions keep on increasing.There may still be a long way to go, but we have the potential to realise more.
The Maldives is fully committed to the realisation of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets. The Maldives is an MDG success story and we are proud of it. We are fortunate that the MDGs were formulated at a time, when the Maldives experienced phenomenal growth in the economic and social sectors. We incorporated the Goals in our development planning, aimed at achieving unprecedented development gains. To sustain the same trajectory of growth, the Maldives has to overcome several challenges: a task that will test our perseverance. Adjusting to the unique vulnerabilities of a small island developing state, and the different structural conditions of a middle-income country are challenges of unprecedented magnitude for a country as small as the Maldives. In spite of these challenges, we aim high and dream big. Our vision of development is inclusive and holistic. A key strategy of President Yameen’s Government is investing in the youth, including young women, through skills development and job creation.An ambitious new set of policies has been launched to enable women, one half of our population, to become productive partners in national development, in whatever capacity they choose for themselves, free from coercion or social pressure.
Our vision of development aim to make the Maldives a resilient, economically diverse, high-income economy. We aim for an economic transformation, more investment, and private sector led- growth. We have intensified our efforts to develop an investor- friendly environment through key legislation, and improving macroeconomic stability. The sustainable development of small island developing states like the Maldives, would never be realised unless we make meaningful progress in the fight against climate change. Climate change threatens modern civilisation, as we know it. It threatens the very existence of many SIDS. This is why we call on emitting countries to reduce emission; this is why we ask to match bold statements with legally binding commitments and actions in Paris later this year.
The 2030 Agenda is a beautifully drafted document. It is an agenda of hope for the hopeless; an agenda to fight poverty and injustice; an agenda that we hope will narrow the gap between the few millions that live in prosperity and the billions that live in poverty. It is an agenda that promises to save my country and that of more than forty other low-lying coastal nations from climate calamity; a calamity, if allowed, will undoubtedly result in a painful death of these nations. Yet, this Agenda is still words on paper. It is up to us to give meaning to those words: to realise the true intention behind every goal, and behind every target. And we can only do it through commitment to implementation; backing words with support. Not only financial, but also capacity building, technology transfer, a data revolution, and meaningful trade liberation. Above all an institutional framework that not only bolsters the capacity, but understands the particularities of all.
Excellencies, it is now up to us to make this Agenda a reality, for the future of our people, and our common home.