Maldives on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS)
Agenda Item 19: Followup to and Implementation of the Outcomes of International Conferences on Financing for Development
26 October 2015
1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and would like to align ourselves with the statement made by the distinguished representative of South Africa speaking on behalf of the G77 and China.
2. The United Nations has accomplished much in the last year and, most importantly, pledged and made commitments for the very ambitious 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In order to implement the goals we have set ourselves, robust means of implementation is crucial. The implementation of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda will be key to the realization of all the sustainable development goals.
3. We appreciate that the need for coherence between the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in particular the means of implementation has been well-established. We further call for effective linkages between the Programmes of Action for countries in special situations, such as the SAMOA Pathway, and in both of these outcome documents, as set out in paragraph 82 of the 2030 Agenda.
4. AOSIS has generally been happy with the outcome of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development. What we achieved in Addis Ababa is a framework geared towards the fundamental belief that development is holistic and viable solutions for national development is possible only through increased political will, enhanced partnerships and committed action.
5. We welcome the fact that the special case of SIDS has been recognised and reaffirmed. While challenges to boosting inclusive economic growth, reducing unemployment and underemployment, and challenges in achieving macroeconomic stabilisation are faced by every developing country, SIDS have additional burdens. Our economies are small, often based on a single industry. Our populations are small, which means we have limited capacity to mobilise domestic resources. Our communities are dispersed across large expanses of seas, we are far away from markets and we have limited natural resources, all of which significantly increase our cost to deliver essential services to our populations. Our countries are highly susceptible to the impacts of climate change and natural disasters. Climate change adaptation costs in SIDS are some of the highest in the world relative to national output. And these specific challenges must be targeted, and addressed adequately in assessing financing needs.
6. Now that we have finally been able to garner the world's attention, we need to keep the momentum going. International resource mobilization remains extremely important to realise the ambitious goals of the 2030 Agenda and our development objectives. As outlined in the Secretary-General's report (A/70/320), official development assistance (ODA) is crucial for development.
7. ODA share to SIDS has declined sharply in the past decade and this is particularly worrying. According to recent World Bank statistics, SIDS receives just 5.7% of ODA. However, the SAMOA Pathway confirmed that despite considerable efforts, SIDS' progress in the attainment of their sustainable development priorities, including the Millennium Development Goals has been uneven, and some have regressed economically. And in this regard, ODA still remains crucial for SIDS to achieve their development priorities, including the SDGs.
8. SIDS continue to be impacted by distorted measures of development, which do not take into account the particularities in our countries. The international community must let go of the one-size-fits-all approach to measuring development, and develop measures that better reflect vulnerabilities of countries, and their resilience to overcome shocks.
9. Further, many of us are Middle-Income Countries, which paradoxically, make us ineligible for concessional finance and subsequently a low priority for donors. Relatedly, high levels of public debt remain a key challenge for many SIDS, and high risk-ratings limit us from borrowing at competitive rates. Without addressing these specific issues that are also addressed in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, we cannot achieve development that is sustainable.
10. The framework recognises the three dimensions of sustainable development. In particular, the environmental dimension has been now integrated into our development work. We welcome this new direction.
11. We cannot find sustainable solutions to end global poverty without first addressing climate change. And we appreciate that the Addis Ababa Action Agenda reflects the additional burden combatting climate change poses on developing countries, and the need to step up investments to address the impacts of climate change, within the context of the UNFCCC.
12. Further substantial commitments made with reference to oceans, illegal fisheries, clean energy and ICT for development, and disaster risk reduction are also encouraging. These are various issues that impede SIDS' abilities to achieve sustainable development. However, all of these pledges will amount to nothing without proper follow-up and review mechanisms, and this is why we also applaud the separate follow-up and review mechanism for financing for development (FfD), established under the Addis Ababa Action Agenda.
13. We must now begin to put our words into action. We need to ensure that the promises of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda do not fall by the wayside. These include, among many others, the establishment of a technology facilitation mechanism, the dedicated and integrated follow-up mechanism, efforts to support debt sustainability, the call for the establishment of a global infrastructure forum, and the further reaffirmation of commitments on ODA, capacity building, technology transfer and systemic reform. This is the biggest task that faces us this session of the General Assembly. We cannot let this opportunity, or indeed this responsibility pass us by.