General Debate of the Second Committee
Intervention by the Republic of Maldives
United Nations, New York, 3 October 2016
On behalf of my delegation, I wish to extend to you and the Bureau Members, our warmest congratulations on your election, and commit our full support and trust in your endeavour. Our appreciation also goes to the outgoing Chair and his Bureau.
The Maldives wishes to associate with the statements delivered on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, and the Alliance of Small Island States.
Last year was a watershed moment in human history: the 2030 Agenda captured the minds and hopes of everybody. It has the true potential to truly transform the world.
The aim of our Government's policies is to make the Maldives a resilient, a diversified and a high-income economy. They aim is to attract more investment, private sector led growth and a true economic transformation. However, challenges remain.
Access to finance for for large scale infrastructure projects remains a challenge: what may be large scale for the Maldives, may not be perceived as large scale to many other countries. That is due to our small size and the dispersed nature of our country. And while the Maldives has an efficient and effective tax collection mechanism, domestic resource mobilisation is not proving to be enough. In this regard, we will be paying close attention to the discussions around macro-economic policies, and especially on financing for development.
Every storm surge, beach erosion incident, and the impacts of extreme weather and climate change, felt in our country reminds us that the development gains we achieved are at risk. This is why we continue to advocate for more attention to be paid on the vulnerability of economies, in assessing countries for graduation. It is our experience with graduation that shapes our engagement on issues of smooth transition: so that graduation is seen as a celebration, not cause for anxiety.
The Maldives is a large ocean State. Our economies, our livelihoods, our culture and identity are intrinsically linked to the oceans. The health and wealth of our oceans is something we are concerned about. We will therefore, continue to make meaningful links between oceans, sustainable development and our economic and social well-being. We look forward in this session, to take part in the United Nations Conference to support the implementation of SDG14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.
The negative impacts of climate change threaten to erode development gains made in the past decades, while hampering progress along the way. In SIDS, the realities of climate change are all too real. Investment in climate change adaptation in the Maldives is already high, placing additional burdens on already-stretched budgets. This is why we welcome the Paris Agreement: for without addressing climate change, we cannot develop.
As with other small developing island states, the Maldives is also entirely dependent on imported fossil fuel in meeting all its energy needs, causing a huge fiscal and economic burden, threatening the energy security of the country. In order to address these problems, we have initiated a renewable energy investment program. Through this program renewable energy systems will be installed up to 30% of day time peak load of electricity in all inhabited islands by 2018, – a commitment we are on track for. In addition to this, we are also working to create an enabling environment for private sector participation through various initiatives such as net metering. Furthermore, energy efficiency component is going to be soon incorporated in the national building code.
A key concern for my delegation is linkages: ensuring that adequate linkages are built between the 2030 Agenda and those that are more focused such as the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the Paris Agreement. Additionally, we recognise the SAMOA Pathway to be the key guiding framework for sustainable development in SIDS, and an integral part of the 2030 Agenda. In this regard, one key aspect of follow up and review, our delegation will look more closely during this session is that of reporting. Ensuring that reporting burden on small State with limited resources are not too high, and support is provided for countries with limited statistical capacities and capabilities.
In many ways the theme chosen by the President of the General Assembly is most apt for this session of the General Assembly. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted only a year ago, is envisioned to bring a myriad of changes to the way we approach development. Yet, we are only one year into it: changes take time, and effort, and political will. My delegation believes that this Committee is one important avenue to give meaning to out our words into action.