Statement delivered by 

Mr Ismail Raushan Zahir, Second Secretary

on Sustainable Development

15 October 2018

Thank you Mr Chairman,

The Maldives aligns itself with the statement made by Egypt on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, as well as the statement by aosis. I would also like to thank the Secretary-General for the various Reports on this Agenda Item.  

The Secretary-General’s Reports reiterate one important point that is crucial for our discussion on sustainable development. That is that there is no substitute for investments, quality and smart investments that promote sustainable development, that builds the capacity of countries to adapt to, and mitigate against, climate change, and investments that reduces the risks of disasters, and be able to bounce back stronger.   

The onus is for the countries concerned to ensure that there is a conducive environment for such investments that would originate from both internal and external sources. The Maldives has created a business environment where two industries dominate: tourism and fisheries, both are characterised by their ability to protect and preserve sustainable practices. We attract investors by identifying the opportunities the Maldives offers in promoting sustainable tourism and fisheries. Both these industries are hugely profitable precisely because they promote sustainable practices. We catch tuna, one-by-one, with a pole and line, and hand and line to minimise by-catch. In tourism, the key attraction in the Maldives is the crystal-clear water, the turquoise blue lagoons, and white sandy beaches. Maldivians therefore have an economic interest in maintaining and promoting the health of the ocean, preserving the marine bio-diversity, and protecting the beaches from erosions.  

The biggest threat to sustainable development is climate change and global warming. The ipcc’s Special Report on Global Warming issued on 8 October asserts that efforts by one country, such as the Maldives, while important, is not sufficient to secure or protect the gains it made in protecting its own natural environment. That is why it is so important to complete the Work Programme of the Paris Agreement. We appreciate the valuable work that was achieved under the unfccc cop23 Presidency of Fiji. As we prepare for the cop24 in Poland later this year, the ipcc has yet again reminded us that 1.5°c is no longer an ideal goal, but a necessity for the survival of humanity.  

The Maldives is implementing its own policies and programmes to ensure that we take measures to adapt and to mitigate against such negative impacts. One such programme is the transition to clean and sustainable energy. The Government has implemented long-term policies to facilitate this, including removal of subsidies from conventional sources and incentivizing renewables. We would like to take this opportunity to recognize the leadership of irena in steering the sids Lighthouse Initiative, and also partnering with the Maldives to launch an initiative for Island Renewable Energy Initiative, which enables renewable energy transition in sids.  

The internationally agreed framework for building the capacity of sids in implementing such initiatives is the samoa Pathway. The Secretary-General has included in his Reports, as assessment of the Small States Units in both the ohrlls and desa that support sids in the implementation of the samoa Pathway. My Delegation therefore wishes to reiterate its call for allocating additional resources to the Secretariat to further strengthen the capacity of the Secretariat to support sids.   

Mr Chair,

Providing sustainable solutions to the challenges of sustainable development require global efforts, global partnerships, and global leadership to ensure that we make tough but smart choices to make our common future not just brighter, but also smarter.

I thank you.