Maldives on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS)
Opening of the UNGA Second Committee
7 October 2015
1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS). We align ourselves with the statement made by the distinguished representative of South Africa on behalf of G77 and China.
2. At the outset let me join others in congratulating you on your election as Chair. We look forward to your guidance and leadership as we embark on the work of the 2nd committee in this 70th session of the UN General Assembly. I also take this opportunity to commend the work done by your predecessor HE Sebastiano Cardi and his bureau for their stewardship during the 69th session.
3. Mr. Chairman, we are confident that under your able leadership and with the support of the bureau, the ambitious session that lies ahead of us will see a fruitful completion. The areas of work for the second committee remain of high value for the Alliance of Small Island States and as such we look forward to continuing our active engagement in the deliberations of this committee throughout the Session.
4. As we have stated previously, small island developing states face unique challenges due to our remote locations, distance to markets, diseconomies of scale, susceptibility to external shocks and the growing vulnerability to the effects of climate change. We are, therefore, heartened by the conclusions of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development that acknowledges the special case of SIDS and takes into consideration significant aspects of the SAMOA Pathway, which is our roadmap for issues of sustainable development.
5. The special needs of SIDS are clear in the most recent extreme weather events arising due to climate change. On behalf of the AOSIS membership, I wish to extend our solidarity and support for Dominica that is still recovering from Tropical Storm Erika, and to the Bahamas, which recently suffered under Hurricane Joaquin. We also recall the extensive damage that Vanuatu and other Pacific countries are still reeling from, in the wake of Cyclone Pam, as well as the extensive damage caused by Typhoons Maysak and Dolphin in the Federated States of Micronesia.
6. When islands face such extreme weather events, the damage to hard and soft infrastructure is debilitating and reverses development gains. Therefore, it is important that financial institutions take into account the specific challenges and vulnerabilities faced by SIDS, including the impacts of climate change on SIDS economies, and consider criteria other than GDP when determining eligibility for financing opportunities. We appeal to the international community to support efforts to develop multi-dimensional measurements that account for the particular contextual vulnerabilities faced by small island states. We further call for participation of SIDS in the decision-making, and norm setting processes of international financial institutions.
7. Moving forward we will continue to make interventions when we see issues of priority for our Group, and will endeavour to make the necessary linkages between the SAMOA Pathway, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, and the work of this Committee. Through the annual resolution on follow-up to the implementation of the SAMOA Pathway, we will be developing the Partnership Framework to be established, and considering the findings of the Comprehensive Review of the UN system support for SIDS. This is intended to follow up on the partnerships announced at the SIDS Conference as well as attract new ones, and to improve the UN system support for SIDS. These initiatives, along with other follow-up activities, we hope will enhance the support for SIDS in our quest to achieve sustainable development.
8. A critical issue for all SIDS is the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and seas. Oceans and seas constitute our livelihood, provide economic opportunity in terms of coastal tourism and fisheries, are a significant part of our cultural heritage, and offer substantial biodiversity for the global community. We stress the importance of enhancing the capacity of SIDS to sustainably use our fisheries resources and develop fisheries-related industries, enabling us to maximise benefits from our resources and ensuring that the burden of conservation and management of ocean resources is not disproportionately transferred to SIDS.
9. We are also committed to seeing that there is continued coherence both among and within the various programs of action, specifically the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. As our heads of state recently endorsed the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, we look forward to its full implementation. AOSIS holds the means of implementation as well as the follow up and review of each goal as a top priority to help us in achieving our specific commitments within the SAMOA Pathway. We look to UN entities and our development partners to help us implement these key issues in a coherent and cohesive manner.
10. In conclusion, Mr. Chair, we thank you again for your stewardship and commitment to this committee. We look forward to supporting you and your bureau in the work programme ahead of us.
I thank you.