Statement by the Delegation of the Maldives during the Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Housing
Thank you Mr. Chairman,
Let me begin by extending a very warm welcome to Ms. Rolnik, on behalf of my delegation. It gives me further pleasure in welcoming the excellent report by the Special Rapporteur that is based on a theme very close to the heart of all Maldivians.
Very rightly pointed out in her report, the Maldives is defined by its unique coral islands scattered in the middle of the Indian Ocean, with an average altitude of the islands being 1 meter above sea level.
The increase in ocean temperatures due to global warming has lead to the bleaching of coral formations, which form the natural protective barrier for our islands. Furthermore, frequent storm surges and aggravated beach erosion continues to threaten the very fundamentals of our island life. As such, with the current pattern of concentrated growth in the capital Male’, together with an acute shortage of land in the islands have significant implications for the housing sector, and overall development of the Maldives.
In light of this, the Maldives wishes to take this opportunity to update the Special Rapporteur on the developments since her visit earlier this year. The Maldives deems access to adequate housing as a fundamental human right, and an integral component of socio-economic development. As part of its policy, the Government has pledged to provide quality affordable housing to all citizens of the Maldives; via a housing scheme targeted towards the low-income strata of the population. In addition to this, the Government is pursuing a policy of decentralisation and regionalisation wherein seven regional provinces have already been established to enable a more people-centric and inclusive approach to development, as recommended by the Rapporteur.
The Maldives concurs with the Special Rapporteur, that developing countries also have obligations at a national level, in the context of mitigation of climate change. For its part, the Maldives believes in leading by example, and therefore has pledged to become carbon neutral within the next ten years.
Despite these limited steps, a concerted global effort, based on mutual respect for human rights for all, is necessary to reverse the current rate of global warming. Parties to the UNFCCC have a clear moral as well as legal obligation to protect and promote those rights by reaching an ambitious and effective agreement at COP15 in Copenhagen this December.
In conclusion, the Maldives wishes to reiterate its firm support to the work of the Special Rapporteur, and the recommendations contained in the report as well as reaffirm our full cooperation in pursuance thereof.