Ms. Aminath Guraisha, First Secretary
at the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Maldives
to the United Nations,
at the First Committee General Debate
05 October 2023, New York
Thank you, Mr. Chair,
The Maldives aligns with the statement made by the distinguished Representative of Azerbaijan on behalf of NAM.
I extend warm congratulations to you, Mr. Chair, and the esteemed members of the Bureau on your election. I assure you of my delegation’s full support and cooperation, as you steer the work of this committee.
The fundamental purpose of the United Nations, as outlined in the first article of its Charter, is to uphold international peace and security, and to prevent threats to peace through peaceful methods. As such the United Nations provides the international community with the essential tools for trust-building, dialogue, and mediation required to drive forward the agendas of disarmament and non-proliferation.
The Maldives remains a steadfast advocate for disarmament and non-proliferation. As one of the first signatories of the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, we strongly urge States that have not yet ratified the Treaty, to do so, as soon as possible.
The Maldives ratified the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in 2019. As a State Party, we were happy with the outcomes of the first meeting of States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons that took place in Vienna last year. We also welcome the strong commitment demonstrated by States during the meeting held on the margins of the High-level Week to commemorate the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. It is our hope that the second meeting of States Parties to the Treaty scheduled for November this year will keep up this momentum, to reach towards our shared goal of a world free of nuclear weapons.
The Maldives also welcomes the convening of the United Nations Disarmament Commission in April 2023. The Commission has the sole power within UN multilateral disarmament system in addressing various challenges related to disarmament and submit concrete recommendations to the General Assembly. We look forward to the 2024 Session of the Commission and hope more substantive proposals are put forward.
There is no denying that our security is inextricably linked to the actions of others. The continued presence and the ever-impending threat of weapons of mass destruction remains a significant Top of Form
To this end, the Maldives has acceded to the Convention on Cluster Munitions and the UN Arms Trade Treaty, to record our voice and join the others in calling for an end to weapons of mass destruction - to save innocent lives; and, to embrace our shared humanity.
Our pursuit of disarmament must extend beyond nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction. Conventional arms control, the prevention of illicit arms trafficking, and the responsible use of emerging technologies with the potential for causing major disruptions are equally vital components of our collective security agenda.
As high-lighted in the Secretary-General’s Disarmament Agenda, the intrinsic connection between peace and development is undeniable. The proliferation of weapons makes the world less safe and less peaceful. It obstructs our progress aimed at fulfilling the SDGs, particularly those relating to peace, justice, strong institutions, reduced inequalities, economic growth, health, gender equality, and, safe cities and communities.
As we look ahead to accelerated actions towards reaching the SDG targets, we must also recognize that the resources saved through disarmament can be redirected towards addressing some of the most pressing global challenges of our time. Poverty, climate change, and pandemics are global threats that demand our immediate attention. We can find a solution to these issues by investing in sustainable development; by ensuring resilience; and by prioritising humanitarian efforts.
We must also remain attuned to the rapid evolution of weapon technologies as well as emerging technologies that can be weaponized. As they continue to advance, it is incumbent upon us to comprehend their potential implications for the security of generations to come. These new technologies, while offering great potential, also present challenges to established legal, humanitarian, and ethical norms. They are an impediment to non-proliferation efforts, international stability, and the broader realms of peace and security.
Throughout the years, this Committee’s statements have highlighted significant discrepancies obstructing progress in disarmament and security. Discussions remain largely static, with a limited acknowledgment of the perspectives of other States and a constrained willingness to re-examine our own viewpoints. Resistance to resolutions representing consensus on disarmament issues frequently results in the emergence of repetitive annual resolutions. It is vital that we repurpose this Committee from being a generator of repetitive resolutions to a forum committed to fundamental discussions on key issues influencing international peace and security.
The international community has a moral obligation to both current and upcoming generations, to actively take measures that will rid our planet of nuclear weapons. Let us collectively renew our commitment to disarmament, carving a path towards a world of progress – a world where the instruments of violence are replaced by tools of progress; a world where the dialogue of cooperation supersedes the language of war; and, most importantly, a world where peace becomes the cornerstone of our shared human legacy.
I thank you.