Statement on Social Development
by H E Dr Ali Naseer Mohamed,
Permanent Representative of the Maldives to the UN
2 October 2018
Thank you, Mr Chair,
I would like to congratulate you on your election as the Chair of the Third Committee. Let me assure you of my delegation’s full support to you, and the Bureau.
I also wish to thank the Secretary-General for the comprehensive Report that was prepared to inform our deliberations on this agenda item.
The approach of the Maldives to social development is one that seeks to reduce social and economic inequality. My Delegation is pleased to note that the Secretary-General’s Report has highlighted, and I
“In Asia and the Pacific, income inequality decreased between the 1990s and the 2010s in 60 per cent of countries with data, with the sharpest drop occurring in the Maldives, followed by Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan and Georgia.”
Such a drop in inequality is the result of choices that the Government has made to ensure that the benefits of economic development are distributed as evenly as possible.
The Maldives seeks to ensure that populations in all 188 inhabited islands have access to social protection and services at affordable rates.
The Maldives provides free primary and secondary education to all, with no discrimination of any kind. The Maldives spends more than nine percent of its GDP on the sector; the highest in South East Asia region.
The Maldives has achieved nearly universal literacy rates, universal immunization, and the lowest infant-mortality, and maternal-mortality rates. The country has eradicated diseases, such as polio, measles, malaria, and lymphatic filariasis, although various types of non-communicable diseases, are emerging as new challenges.
It has been seven years since the Government started providing universal and free medical care to every Maldivian in the country. Earlier this year, a new multi-million dollar private hospital started its services in the Maldives with advance treatment in several non-communicable diseases.
The Maldives has also established mechanisms to ensure that persons with disabilities have equal employment opportunities and introduced a “disability allowance” to reduce the financial constrains they face.
Our elderly population is getting the compassion and the financial support we owe them, through well-targeted policies. The Maldives also remains committed to empowering the youth to be active citizens in their communities, who will foster economic and social progress. Particular attention is also given to empower young women and enact policies that support women’s ability to work and participate in the economy. The Employment Act of 2008 and the Gender Equality Act of 2016 enshrines into law, the principle of equal opportunities and equal outcomes, ensuring non-discrimination in employment and encouraging women’s economic empowerment.
The social and economic inequality at international levels that the SG’s Report has examined, needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency. The small islands developing States (SIDS) is recognized as a special case of sustainable development. Providing social protection and services in SIDS will always be a challenge. The small populations disbursed into hundreds of small islands in a vast area of sea makes the delivery of services extremely expensive in SIDS.
Therefore, facilitating easier access to financing for SIDS to enable them to implement social and economic development projects would help to reduce international inequality that the SG has identified.
Thank you, Mr Chair.