National Statement by
HE Dr Ali Naseer Mohamed, Permanent Representative
on Sustainable Development
9 October 2017
Thank you Mr Chair,
The Maldives aligns itself with the statements by the Alliance of Small Island States, and Ecuador on behalf of the Group of 77 and China. I wish to thank the Secretary-General for his comprehensive reports under this agenda item. They provide context as we consider the best contributions that the Second Committee can make in our collective efforts towards achieving sustainable development.
For Maldivians, sustainability is a way of life. It has always been, for several centuries. For several centuries, Maldivians have carried with them a tradition, a cherished tradition, of respecting for, and caring about, the resources that we are blessed with. It is that tradition that has informed the Maldives approach to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. It is that tradition that has helped the Maldives in shaping the policy instruments that we employ in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. During the High-Level Political Forum held in July this year, the Maldives presented its first Voluntary National Review (VNR). In the VNR, we highlighted on the progress that the Maldives achieved and future plans that we have charted out in our strive towards shaping a sustainable future for all.
The Maldives has a broad set of priorities, including gender empowerment, inclusive and equitable economic growth, promoting sustainable consumption, expanding the traditional sustainable practices, and building the resilience of the communities and the nation. During the VNR, the Maldives also illustrated the significant gains that the country has accomplished in the areas of health, education, water and sanitation, climate change, and renewable energy.
The Maldives is pursuing an ambitious policy of transition to a low carbon economy. The Government of President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom has embarked on a number of projects to ensure that the country achieves the target of 30 per cent of national energy consumption through renewable sources by 2018. The Maldives, as the Chair of AOSIS, and in collaboration with IRENA, has launched the Initiative for Renewable Island Energy (IRIE). As we speak, the Maldives is hosting a meeting of Energy Ministers of small island states, which will help to facilitate support for small island states in their transition to renewable energy and in achieving energy efficiency.
The Maldives, while being a developing State of small islands, is a large ocean-nation, too. Taking care of the ocean, ensuring that its health is well maintained, and at the same time, also ensuring that its enormous wealth is used in the most sustainable fashion. The Maldives therefore recognises the very important contribution made by the United Nations Oceans Conference that was held in June this year. The Conference provided the required political momentum for SDG 14. We welcome the Call for Action and the Voluntary Commitments emerging from the Conference, which included nine Voluntary Commitments by the Maldives.
For the Maldives, sustainable development is inherently linked to the oceans which is the backbone of the Maldivian tourism and fisheries industries. Sustainable, small scale fisheries, like our traditional pole and line fishing contribute to poverty eradication, employment and decent work while our tourism industry is the largest industry in the country that has often been cited as a prime example of sustainable tourism.
Realising the SDGs requires closer international collaboration; collaboration between governments, collaboration between governments and international agencies, especially the UN agencies, that have relevant expertise; expertise which will be critical for the small island developing States, to shape their policies and strategies based on evidence. The Maldives, like many other SIDS, lacks sufficient technical and human capacity, particularly in data collection and analyses and in preparing baseline data for the SDG indicators. As such, we encourage coordinated efforts from the relevant United Nations agencies to strengthen capacity in small island developing States.
The Maldives would like to reiterate its solidarity with our fellow SIDS in the Caribbean who experienced such devastating losses following the recent hurricanes. Climate induced disasters can be reduced only by taking actions against climate change. And the only framework for action is the Paris Agreement. There is no alternative plan.
I thank you Chair.