Maldives on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS)
at the Second Session of the Intergovernmental Negotiations on the Post-2015 Development Agenda
17-20 February 2015
Maldives has the honour to speak on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States, a coalition of Small Island and coastal communities. We would like to associate ourselves with the statement delivered by the distinguished Permanent Representative of South Africa on behalf of G77 and China.
At the outset, I would like to express our appreciation for the substantive Elements Paper, which we believe provides a good basis for fruitful and constructive discussions this week on the declaration. We understand that this Elements paper is not intended to be a zero-draft, but a guiding document.
The Post-2015 development agenda is a source of hope for the billions of people around the world, and we must not fail them. The task before us is enormous and highly ambitious. We do believe, therefore, that this declaration should be concise, visionary, and ambitious to make the message meaningful and impactful. However, we have difficulty grasping the choice of the term “simple”. We need this declaration to motivate action and stress the complexity of this ambitious agenda.
Building on previous commitments will give this call for action more legitimacy as captured in internationally agreed documents, in particular the Rio conference, JPOI, BPoA, MSI, SAMOA Pathway, MDGs and Rio+20. In that sense, co-facilitators, under Section 1, where you use “the Tomorrow we want”, allow me to suggest using the title of the outcome document of Rio+20, The Future We Want.
The declaration needs to give a vision of a post-2015 development agenda that is people-centred, eradicates poverty, achieves environmental sustainability, and improves the quality of life for our Peoples and Nations.
Regarding section 2, we are mostly content with the elements highlighted here. We would like to stress that the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, as they are contained in the Report of the Open Working Group, provide a basis for our agenda. Furthermore, the declaration should articulate the political commitment to achieve these Goals within a 15-year period.
We note your reference to the Secretary General’s synthesis report. We would, however, caution the dilution of important topics in such a clustering attempt.
We welcome the integration of the recognition of the needs of countries in special situations. Small Island Developing States are recognised as a special case for development by the UN system, and their inherent vulnerabilities, have been well documented. The need for special, targeted assistance is well established. SIDS remain constrained in meeting their sustainable development targets in all three dimensions of sustainable development. The declaration that precedes the development agenda must therefore, include specific references to these undeniable facts, as well as the internationally agreed outcome documents of Conferences that focused on those countries.
Furthermore, to get to our visionary objective, the declaration will need to emphasize the need to build resilience, including to environmental shocks and degradation, and towards building the productivity and resilience of oceans and marine ecosystems
In addition, we strongly reiterate that our mission will fail if we do not address the threat of climate change. Climate change does undermine our efforts to achieve sustainable development and poverty eradication. It is not just a challenge to our development, but a real threat. This declaration needs to stress this truth and call for ambitious, urgent and concrete actions.
On section 3, we need to mobilize AND deliver adequate, sufficient and predictable means of implementation. The lesson of the MDGs, and in particular MDG 8, teach us the importance of adjusting to the local specificities so as to be more impactful in our endeavor to reach sustainable development agenda.
Regarding partnerships, we support a multi-partner approach. We stress that the Global partnership can only be realized through an inclusive dialogue anchored in national ownership and empowered through partnerships based upon mutual collaboration and ownership, trust, alignment, harmonization, respect, results orientation, accountability and transparency.
These guiding principles for effective partnerships also apply to the UN systems. We believe that the UN system and the international community need to support developing countries, in particular SIDS, in strengthening their national institutions so that their national institutions can become implementing agencies. This may also suggest that the UN system be periodically reviewed to determine whether it is fit-for-purpose.
On Section 4, this is where we see a critical role for the High Level Political Forum. The HLPF must monitor and review the targets and indicators periodically, to ensure the success of the Sustainable Development Goals.
We would prefer a stronger verb than “recognizing”, such as “affirm” with regard to the review and follow-up. The lessons from the MDGs should, again, guide us.
Regarding the commitment section, we would suggest moving it to the vision section, as we believe it provides the guiding principles or ingredients for an inclusive agenda. We would also suggest inserting inclusivity, transparency, mutual respect, and accountability as principles.
Finally, this section should reaffirm existing and past commitments. We are not starting anew, but we are consolidating and building on existing foundations.
On a wider note on process, we look forward to these discussions providing an output that is tangible and will kick-start our discussions as we move forward.
We look forward to providing specific suggestions as we move forward.