Statement delieverd by 

Ms Farzana Zahir, Deputy Permanent Representative 

on group of Countries in Special Situations 

22 October 2018

Thank you Mr Chair,  

The Maldives aligns itself with the statement by Egypt on behalf of the Group of 77 and China. I also wish to thank the Secretary-General for the comprehensive Reports that has been presented to inform the deliberations under this agenda item.  Let me also express appreciation to the Secretariat, more specifically, the Office of the High Representative for ldcs, lldcs, and sids for the important role that it plays in assisting countries in special situations.   

The most recent triennial review by the Committee for Development Policy in March this year, shows that a total of 12 ldcs meet the criteria for graduation to middle income country status. That is a welcome development. The Maldives, however, remains concerned about the criteria that the cdp uses, in deciding to graduate countries from the ldc category, acriteria that needs to be reviewed. We are concerned that in the 2018 review, five countries met the income only criteria, of which three were among countries with the highest scores of economic vulnerabilities. sids that are listed for graduation from the ldc category do not meet the economic vulnerability index criterion. And they do not meet that criterion even after graduation. It is time therefore that the General Assembly decides that the evi should be a criterion that every country meets before it is graduated from the ldc category. For the sg’s Report is very clear; the risks of economic and financial distress that sids face after graduation is primarily because of structural and geographical vulnerabilities. Therefore, economies of these countries have to be able to adapt to the various aspects of vulnerabilities before graduation. That is why a smooth transition strategy for graduating countries, that address their particular vulnerabilities, is critically important. The un system is ideally placed to work with the countries in developing policies and strategies that seek to build economic resilience and help the countries to implement such strategies.  

The Secretary General has also highlighted the need for more support for smooth transition to alleviate the concerns of countries recommended for graduation and also noted the need for additional support after graduation. Access to financing facilities are necessary to maintain an upward trajectory of development gains.  The sg’s Report has highlighted the progress that the Maldives has achieved since graduation from the ldc category in 2011, and also noted the growing vulnerability that the country is facing. The Maldives was, and continues to be, fortunate to have forged important partnerships, especially South-South partnerships, that have helped us to implement large-scale infrastructure projects. Such projects are helping the economy to register impressive growth rates, especially in the tourism sector.   

As a small island-developing State, access to financing has not been smooth sailing for the Maldives. International financial institutions need to be more sensitive, and indeed, more flexible, in considering requests for concessional financing from the small island-developing States, especially, the newly graduated sids and better align their lending policies with the 2030 Agenda.  

The plight of countries in special situations is one that requires careful consideration and continuous support of the un system, partners and financial institutions. Tailored solutions need to be crafted to address the particular vulnerabilities of these countries.

I thank you.