Her Excellency Ms. Thilmeeza Hussain
Commemoration of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development
16 July 2019
I wish to congratulate you in convening this important high-level meeting on the Commemoration of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD). Since its adoption in Cairo in 1994, the Programme of Action of the ICPD is considered as the major outcome document representing a comprehensive framework on the issues of population and development. The Maldives is encouraged by the progress that has been made in accomplishing the goals and objectives of the ICPD programme of Action.
The Maldives, in particular, is proud as a nation, for the achievements in the implementation of the Programme of Action of the ICPD as well as the Asia and Pacific Ministerial Declaration on Population and Development. For most part we have been successful in reducing poverty, achieving universal health coverage and universal education, addressing the needs of vulnerable populations, and advancing gender equality, but we do understand there are challenges ahead and have to find means to overcome this.
We understand that the two of the three goals which we are slow in achieving are some of the most important goals for a country to achieve in order for it to be on a sustainable development trajectory. The Government of Maldives is indeed committed to working on achieving these goals and implantation measures are underway. For example, the enactment of the Gender Equality Law along with other pieces of legislation related to the protection of women and zero gender gap in literacy demonstrates the banner for women’s advancement is rising in the Maldives. While this process is slow, we are nevertheless confident in the enforcement and implementation of relevant legisltation, given the political will present in this administration.
Additionally, the maternal mortality rate and the infant mortality rate in the Maldives has been reduced substantially in the past 30 years which has increased the demographic dividend in the country, thus, contributing to the wellbeing of our people. Long-term investments in health initiatives and available care have dramatically improved life expectancy in the country. According to the World Bank, life expectancy has risen from 37 years in 1960 to 77 years in 2017. It is our intention that medium to long term goals in healthcare are carefully planned ahead, to achieve the progress we have witnessed in past years.
Under the leadership of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, the Government of Maldives is committed to investing in our people. Investments that enhance the lives of our people create more opportunities and empower our women, youth, and vulnerable segments of the society will lay the necessary foundation for a healthier and a productive population. We are committed to creating our own success story of sustainable development, one that places our people at its core. But we cannot do it alone. Collective global responsibility is the key to transforming our world.
In conclusion, the Maldives will work to realize both its national and international obligations, in addressing population and development matters in an integrated and a comprehensive manner.
I thank you, Mr President.