High Level Segment of the General Assembly
Thirtieth anniversary of the Declaration on the Right to Development - 22 September 2016
His Excellency Dr. Mohamed Asim, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Maldives
22 September 2016
Mr. President, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen.
It is a great pleasure for me to be here at this event: commemorating the thirtieth anniversary of the Declaration on the Right to Development.
We gathered here today, share the common vision that it is an inalienable human right “to participate in, contribute to, and enjoy economic, social, cultural and political development, in which all human rights and fundamental freedoms can be fully realized”.
We gathered here today, believe that development belongs to everyone, everywhere, without discrimination and with his or her participation, regardless of gender, race, nationality, or the size or might of your nation.
30 years on, since the adoption of the Declaration, the realities of the wide-ranging contemporary issues such as high rates of poverty, income equality, disease outbreaks, economic crises and armed conflicts, make the discussion over the “right to development” more relevant than ever before.
And in no other discussion is the issue more relevant than in climate change, which impacts the ability of all, and in particular Small Island Developing States, to achieve sustainable development. And in this regard, allow me to highlight three points:
Firstly, international cooperation is more important than ever in supporting and eliminating obstacles to development. The critical importance of international cooperation, are felt more acutely by Small Island Developing States such as the Maldives, highly dependent on the support of the international community – whether its financing, technology and knowledge transfer, or capacity building support - to face numerous challenges – such as climate change, economic and financial shocks – over which we have limited control over.
Secondly, humans must remain at the centre of our development efforts. An important element in success in the Maldives in realizing the right to development was the adoption of appropriate development strategies, which in fact furthered respect for human rights. Reducing discrimination against the vulnerable groups in the society, older people, women and children, inclusion of these groups in the society, and fulfillment of their entitlement to life of dignity, freedom and equal opportunity is of utmost importance. Of equal importance, is empowering women and girls, as agents of change, empowering them as leaders in society.
Thirdly, the international community has collectively adopted an ambitious Agenda to transform the world by 2030, which is among others informed by the Declaration on Right to Development. While the Agenda has identified its key means of implementation – ones that we must enable and accomplish to realize the Agenda, we must recognize a key ingredient that is essential: political will. We are not short of arguments, we are not short of smart ideas, we are not short of ways and means; we seem to be short of drive to change the status quo, or take bold steps: the right step! So lets not this be an Agenda in aspiration, but a reality!
The Maldives will always remain ready and committed to the full implementation of this Declaration. As representatives of our people, we must renew our resolve to take urgent action to achieve the sustainable development goals with all partners to ensure a sustainable, equitable, inclusive, peaceful and prosperous future for all.
I thank you.