“Moving from Vision to Implementation: Realising Sustainable Development in Small Island Developing States”

Expert Group Meeting for SIDS

Statement by His Excellency Ahmed Sareer

Permanent Representative of the Republic of Maldives to the United Nations

New York, 16 July 2016


Excellencies, Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my honour and privilege to welcome you to this important Meeting today, organized by the Maldives as Chair of AOSIS, with the Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

Since we took over the Chairmanship one and half years ago, we have been extremely busy with negotiating new frameworks and agreements. We started with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction adopted in March, followed by the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development, in July. We adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in September, followed by the Paris Agreement in December. All important topics for us SIDS.

Through it all, we saw it as our role, to raise the case of SIDS as a special case for sustainable development. We saw our role, to integrate fully into these new frameworks, these new benchmarks for global development policy, our own sustainable development blueprint, the SAMOA Pathway, which was agreed in 2014. And I am pleased to report that with the help of AOSIS members, we were successful.

Now that the dust has settled on the negotiations, and the congratulations have been said, we are faced with the harder part: the implementation –Trying to figure out how we move to realize these ambitious agendas in our own countries, and how we mobilise ourselves, resources and others, for this endeavor.

This is the purpose of our meeting today: we meet today, to outline key priorities and challenges towards the implementation of the SAMOA Pathway, within the context of the 2030 Agenda, and other related development frameworks. We will look at the key implementation challenges, and how we can overcome them. We will look at the opportunities that exist nationally, regionally and globally, including looking at key opportunities for advocacy and outreach.

A key component of our discussion today will be to look at the UN system support for SIDS. Yesterday, we looked at how partners interact with SIDS, and the challenges and opportunities that lie in that interaction. Today, we will focus on what the existing situation is, from our perspective, and how best we can address any gaps and challenges. We will ofcourse look at these matters within the context of the upcoming Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review of the UN Development System, as well as take into account the findings of the Comprehensive Review of the UN System support for SIDS, currently being conducted by the Joint Inspection Unit.

And finally, our discussion today, will end with consideration of the way forward. What are upcoming opportunities for AOSIS engagement, for example how can we better ensure SIDS views are heard within the HLPF? We will also look at existing mechanisms, such as the Steering Committee on partnerships for SIDS, and how we can utilize existing mechanisms to elevate our issues and advocate for them.

Our agenda today is an ambitious one. But I am sure you would agree it is needed. We would like to welcome our colleagues from the Secretariat, who have graciously contributed time on a weekend to come in to give their perspectives and share their expertise. And on behalf of my team, I would like to also welcome the participants for your time and look forward to your constructive engagement during the day.

We are strongest when we stand together. And we hope this meeting would help to forge a stronger, brighter future for SIDS, in achieving sustainable development. I thank you.