Statement by His Excellency Abdulla Shahid,
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Maldives
Virtual Event to Commemorate the 30th Anniversary of AOSIS
3 December 2020
Madam Chair, Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates,
31 years ago, in 1989, fourteen small States gathered in the Maldives for the first ever small states conference on sea level rise. They declared their “intent to work, collaborate and seek international cooperation to protect the low lying small coastal and island states of the world from the dangers posed by climate change, global warming and sea level rise”.
The Malé Declaration on global warming and sea level rise, laid the foundation for the Alliance of Small Island States. An alliance that brought all of us together on the issues that threatened our lives and livelihoods. An alliance that provided a strong voice for the easily marginalised voices of Small Island States. An alliance that lobbied for the recognition of SIDS as a “special case for sustainable development” in 1992, due to their size, remoteness, insularity and vulnerability to external shocks. An alliance that is made up of countries that continue to raise awareness about the impacts of global challenges that require global solutions.
Madam Chair, I wish to congratulate you, and your beautiful country for your dynamic leadership in steering the work of AOSIS. I also wish to congratulate all members of this Alliance as we celebrate our 30th The Maldives is proud to be an AOSIS member since its inception, and honoured to have chaired the Alliance from 2015 to 2018.
While this anniversary provides an opportunity to applaud the progress we have made, we still have much work left to do. Especially given the new challenges posed by the Covid19 pandemic.
As we face the unprecedented challenges of Covid-19, along with the existing climate change issues, we face the danger of losing several development gains made over the years. It is becoming increasingly evident that countries in special situations like us SIDS, will need the support of the international community to recover. We thank the partners who have generously extended financial, material and technical support during this crisis.
The Covid pandemic should not halt our momentum on climate action. AOSIS must stand united in responding to the call by the Secretary-General for a green recovery from the pandemic, and the adoption of his proposed climate actions to shape economic recovery. Building back better is building back greener.
The Maldives will submit updated NDCs in 2020. We commend the Chair’s leadership in generating momentum for ramping up NDCs, in our united efforts to reach the 1.5 degrees target. At the same time, we must appeal to our partners in the developed world to provide adequate, predictable and innovative financing, including by meeting the goal of mobilising 100 billion US dollars per year until 2020 to support climate action, so that small islands may adapt to life in a changing climate.
We must solicit support for a ‘SIDS Compact’ that entails specific financial instruments in the short, medium and long term to help SIDS meet the ongoing challenges of the pandemic, service their debt, and increase their limited fiscal space. We welcome the G20’s announcement of a Common Framework for Debt Treatments beyond the debt service suspension initiative. However, more concrete steps are also needed to allow vulnerable countries to reduce their debt burdens. One such measure could be the early implementation of the tangible proposals from the initiative by Jamaica, Canada and the Secretary-General on financing for development in the era of the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond.
Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates,
Providing solutions to global crises require global efforts, partnerships and leadership. Addressing the unique challenges we face require solidarity and collective action within this Alliance. This is why, - dear friends - since the founding of AOSIS, we have worked tirelessly to promote the issues most important to SIDS. We must – dear friends - continue our work, and our united call for a transformative response to our unique challenges, for the next 30 years and beyond.
I thank you.