Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abdulla Shahid, today participated in the General Debate on the theme study on building back better from crises through regional cooperation in Asia and the Pacific, at the 77th Commission session of UN-ESCAP.

During this session, Minister Shahid delivered a statement on the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery. He recognized the useful recommendations presented in the report by ESCAP regarding the challenges we face in building back better from the COVID-19 pandemic. He spoke of how the pandemic affected Maldives and highlighted how the timely, organized and effective measures taken by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s government helped the Maldives soften the severity of the social crisis caused by the pandemic. He also spoke about how this pandemic has highlighted the plight of vulnerable segments of the population and spoke on how Maldives aided migrants with relocation and returning home, eased on utility bills for all citizens and provided income support for those who lost their jobs.

Minister Shahid further highlighted that the diversification of the economy away from single sector income generators such as the tourism industry, is crucial in order to be more resilient in building back better. He also highlighted the importance of aligning the recovery initiatives with the 2030 Agenda, which must act as the overarching framework for development. Finally, he called to respect nature, emphasized on low carbon emissions and to promote the structural transformation needed to build a stronger, more sustainable and resilient economy.

The seventy-seventh session of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) is being held under the theme, “Building back better from crises through regional cooperation in Asia and the Pacific.” UN-ESCAP is one of the five regional commissions under the jurisdiction of the United Nations Economic and Social Council.