Tenth Session of the General Assembly

Open Working-Group on Sustainable Development Goals

Climate change/ Marine Resources and Oceans

Intervention by:

His Excellency Mr Ahmed Sareer, Permanent Representative to the United Nations,

New York, 3 April 2014

Thank you Co-Chair,


Maldives aligns itself with both the statements made by Bolivia on behalf of G77 and China and the statement delivered by Nauru on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS).




The recent 5th Assessment Report by the Intergovernmental panel on Climate Change provided new estimates for sea level rise, which are consistently higher than previous estimates. The Report predicts that the Maldives and other low-lying island states may lose much of its land area and millions of inhabitants in rest of the world may be displaced due to sea level rise and other effects of the climate. It is fundamental that we take these factors into serious consideration in our pathway towards Sustainable Development Goals and in the formulation of a Post-2015 Development Agenda. Climate change targets must be addressed across the spectrum of goals. It must include a target on building resilience and adaptive capacity in all countries. Issues such as loss and damage, adaptation and mitigation are equally important when formulating the targets.  


When we conceptualize the targets, we need to take into account the principles of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and making use of the synergies and interlinkages with topics like transport, energy, sustainable consumption and production, Oceans acidification, land degradation and water.




Targets should focus on putting the world on track to not exceed global warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial temperatures. It also requires a transformative SDG, a multi-sectorial and multi-stakeholder approach that engage everyone. The SDG should address different goals on an historical responsibility based on principle of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. We need to promote financing for climate resilient development and economic incentives for investments in low carbon solutions. Disaster risk reduction needs to be given prominence to reduce the damage caused by climate change induced natural disasters.  We need to promote education on climate change and make sure to protect the planets carbon sink and rejuvenate our forests.  We need to create incentives to increase the rate of investment in environmentally friendly technologies.  All countries need to implement low carbon development strategies.


On the issue of marine resources and oceans:


It is of utmost importance to the Maldives that we protect and safeguard our marine ecosystems. It is a source of food, a potential renewable energy, creates decent jobs and employment. Furthermore, Ocean needs to be protected because the ecosystems and the biodiversity it harbours is not infinite and it is an integral part of Sustainable Development.  


It is vital to capture the myriad of the vital contributions of Oceans, by taking into account the valuable source of ocean economies, eradication of poverty, providing food security and decent employment. Targets should ensure that these contributions are not lost. There needs to be a holistic approach on eliminating marine pollution and addressing illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. Targets should integrate the specific situation of the SIDS who are the custodians of large ocean territories and should also include a target on capacity building, technology transfer and to implement and monitor those measures. A specific target should be integrated on an area-based conservation consistent with international law and based on best available scientific information.


We need to ensure that marine ecosystems, including marine biodiversity and fish stocks, are rebuilt, restored, and maintained at healthy resilient level. We need to take into account the impacts of climate change in our oceans. We need to promote the conservation of biodiversity, enhancing habitat connectivity and building ecosystem resilience. We need to make sure that States with large oceans territories benefits from its natural resources sustainably. There is a need to promote the establishment of marine protected areas. There has to be an end to perverse subsidies that promote overfishing. We should give incentive and promote small-scale sustainable fisheries. We also need to strengthen regional fisheries management organizations. As with other goals and targets, it is of utmost importance to integrate the appropriate means of implementation.


Thank you.