Representative of the Republic of Maldives
To the United Nations
Interactive Discussion 1: Financing Poverty Eradication and Sustainable Development
New York, 21 April 2016
Dear Excellencies and Colleagues,
10:00 Panel: The way ahead, Successful frameworks and strategies for financing the Sustainable Development Goals and the paradigm shift towards low carbon societies
Let me begin by congratulating the focus of this discussion being not only on financing the SDGs, but on financing them in a way that enables the transition towards a low carbon future. SDG 13 outlines the urgent need to address climate change, and while the Paris Agreement is a critical component of this work, acting on climate is also part of our broader efforts on sustainable development. The Maldives suffers acutely from the consequences of delayed mitigation of greenhouse gases. As such, we along with other SIDS encourage all member states to enthusiastically embrace renewable energy sources, energy efficiency, and clean technologies that are affordable and equitably accessible.
Furthermore, we need to identify the climate change implications in our development efforts resulting from the 2030 Agenda and work to negate them. For example, it is valuable to consider incorporating incentives and conditions into financing modalities to avoid building infrastructure or other development projects that are counter to our goal of a low carbon future. The Infrastructure Forum, which took place this past weekend, supported climate resilient infrastructure and we should all encourage long-term investment in new projects and the revitalization of older infrastructure that makes sustainability a priority.
A central point for us in terms of how financing can enable SDG implementation is access to funding. Often, there is high bureaucracy associated with accessing the Funds that are established, and related high reporting burdens. Therefore, ironically, those of us who need it most, often lack the capacity to access to much needed finance.
We also should in our experience, look to develop tangible and creative partnerships that empower local communities and engage key actors across all sectors. We are looking at how partnerships - public, private, North-South, South-South or triangular - can contribute to understanding where challenges lie, identify best practices and adapt successes. Both the 2030 Agenda and FFD require a revitalized global partnership for their implementation. The global partnership that we seek to build must, in responding to the Means of Implementation, speak to all clusters in SDG 17 including finance, technology, capacity building, trade, policy, institutional coherence, multi-stakeholder partnerships and lastly data and accountability and monitoring. And this must remain the case.
I would like to touch upon is the criteria that gives too much weight to income in defining the level of development without giving sufficient consideration or no consideration at all to important factors such as vulnerability to external shock and percapita cost of availing basic needs for the population. These criteria, often make us, ineligible for concessional finance, and subsequently a low priority for donors. This is despite high levels of public debt that remains a challenge for many SIDS, and related high risk ratings that hinders borrowing at competitive rates..
Existing criteria also do not account for the existential threats SIDS face due to extreme weather events and natural disasters. They do not consider that we are disproportionately burdened with responding to them - through loss of our lives, property, our livelihoods and our entire economies. These criteria additionally do not recognize that we are charged with dealing with problems we didn't create. Therefore we urge the international community to consider expanding the definition of development and success to reflect the geographic and other vulnerabilities concealed within simple GDP measurements. It is one thing to commit to leaving no one behind, but in reality, this means ensuring the most vulnerable among us can receive the necessary support.