Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
More than a year after the outbreak of COVID-19, the world is still struggling to respond to and recover from the pandemic's multidimensional challenges. In Maldives, the livelihoods of thousands of young people employed in various sectors, namely the tourism industry and related services, were disrupted. They are currently navigating the loss of income, access to healthcare, social isolation and exclusion, with disruptions to education and training. These challenges threaten to unravel the progress made towards achieving the SDGs with and for youth.
The Government of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has placed young people and sustainability at the centre of its development policy. To help address the socio-economic impact of the crisis, the Government of Maldives developed a relief package worth 2.9 percent of our GDP, including financing facilities for businesses and households in the tourism and fisheries sectors, and social protection measures for vulnerable communities. The Government is also drafting a Youth Bill to promote and protect young people's rights, including expanding access to healthcare, employment and economic opportunities, education and increasing youth representation in decision making.
We welcome the key role that young play in tackling climate change, and raising ambition of governments on climate action in the lead up to COP26 in Glasgow. Indeed, young scientists and engineers have been advancing climate-smart technologies and pioneering more sustainable infrastructure solutions across the globe, which have far reaching co-benefits across all the SDGs.
The Maldives remains committed to a youth-led implementation of the 2030 Agenda and supports the United Nations Youth Strategy 2030, while building back better from the pandemic's lingering effects. We need more partnerships to reorient our economies towards a more resilient and sustainable model that effectively engages young people along the chain of prevention, preparedness, response and recovery from future challenges. We join all of you on this collective aspiration for achieving more inclusive, fair and resilient communities.
I thank you.