the Republic of Maldives on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States
Agenda Item 17: Macroeconomic Policy Questions and
Agenda Item 18: Follow up to and Implementation of the Outcomes of International Conference on Financing for Development
21 October 2016
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS). Let me begin by aligning ourselves with the statement made by the distinguished representative of Thailand on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
I also wish to thank the Secretary General for his report, as well as the report from the Interagency Task Force. This agenda item is very important for our group, and we are heartened to note the progress being made.
SIDS face a number of vulnerabilities which directly affect our ability to mobilize resources to meet our developmental needs. These include small economies and populations, high transport and communication costs linked to remoteness from markets, and exposure to environmental shocks.
AOSIS views international trade as a crucial engine for development. As island states, we are heavily dependent on imported goods and services - for foodstuffs, fuel, and equipment, while exports are a vital source of foreign exchange earnings and cash income generation.
However, recent experience has shown that in many of our countries, export activity has remained stagnant and, in some cases, suffered serious decline. Among the major obstacles to trade expansion, have been persistently low world prices for traditional exports, failure to adapt to changing international market conditions and, in some cases, the adoption of policies and strategies that effectively penalise export activity.
In this regard, AOSIS reiterates the need for a fair multilateral trading system to ensure sustained growth in global trade and create new market access and opportunities, while ensuring that any international trade regime accommodates our needs. Systemic shortcomings of international monetary, financial and economic institutions must be addressed through serious reforms.
It is also important to note here that SIDS are among the most heavily indebted countries in the world, due to structural factors like the declining performance of our export sectors, reduction in tourism revenues, and economic risks resulting from natural hazards and climate change. Our export sectors are heavily dependent on the fishing sector and agriculture, both of which are severely affected by the negative impacts of climate change owing to reduced crop yields and fish stocks. This amounts to a likely launch of new cycles of debt issuances to make up the shortfall, compounding existing debt problems. Similarly, reconstruction efforts after natural disasters or other climate change adaptation efforts further exacerbate debt burdens.
The Addis Agenda signaled a new era of development finance, especially for our Group. This is also why we are heartened to note the establishment of its proper follow-up and review through the ECOSOC Forum on FFD Follow-up.
The ECOSOC Forum on FFD Follow-up is the avenue to direct implementation efforts, track progress across sectors and provide recommendations for speedy execution of commitments made in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda. As we all know, that commitments made under the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, have bearing on the effective implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Given the nature and complexity of this agenda item and its multifaceted relationships to other processes, adequate attention needs to be given across the board. We therefore, strongly believe that efforts to treat FFD issues in silos, or to address them only in one avenue and not the other, will be detrimental in achieving our collective goals.
AOSIS looks forward to the 2017 FFD Forum, which we hope will result in substantial follow up and review of Addis pledges and commitments. Having said that, we would like to reiterate that Addis is a broad based agenda, which not only includes all of the means of implementation of the 2030 Agenda, but also goes over and beyond them. Therefore, coordinated and coherent efforts in the work of the Forum, and through the Second Committee are essential to have a fighting chance for meaningful implementation.
In closing, I wish to thank you for this opportunity and wish delegates a fruitful discussion.