Statement by:

Representative of the Republic of Maldives

To the United Nations

Interactive Discussion 2: Technology and Data for SDGs

New York, 21 April 2016

Dear Excellencies and Colleagues,

3:00 Panel: Enhancing Technology Development and Cooperation for Sustainable Development Goals

Maldives fully embraces the global commitment to embracing technology as a tool to implement and monitor the SDGs. There are two central points we would like to emphasize around this objective, the first being the need for countries like Maldives to be able to take part in technology development as equal partners, which will require strengthening local capacity, and the second being increasing access to new and existing technologies.

As a direct outcome from the Addis Ababa Action Agend, as well as lanched in the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development, another key tool for enhancing technology is the Technology Facilitation Mechanism. We eagerly await the launch of the TFM's online platform as it will play a central role in enabling international cooperation, if it is fully implemented. The 10-member group to support the TFM met in March here in New York and provided 5 guiding questions for the upcoming STI Forum. We view this knowledge sharing exercise as a useful starting point to begin reflecting upon on existing best practices, current obstacles around technology, data and science, and to begin identifying overlapping concerns between different countries. That said, it is only the first step in facilitating increased access to science and technology.

Technology needs underpin our efforts to achieve sustainable development, and transition to low carbon economies. That is why this is identified as a key means of implementation. However, high costs of entry and delivery are burdens to accessing technology necessary. High transaction costs associated with our unique geographical situations are also hindrances. Innovative approaches are needed, that are specific for each country's environment, needs and priorities. What is also necessary is in addition to technology transfer, is the associated transfer of knowledge and know-how. So that we are enhancing the local capacities and capabilities.

Lastly, we would like to emphasize particular areas where SIDS are keen to develop and coordinate including but not limited to clean energy, climate and weather monitoring, potable water, and marine technologies.

4:30 Panel: Harnessing the Data Revolution for SDGs: opportunities and challenges

The question of data is of key to the Maldives. Throughout the FFD and 2030 Agenda negotiation processes, Maldives through AOSIS called for robust monitoring mechanisms linked to strong follow-up, supported directly by access to technology and capacity building for data collection and analysis. We are happy to see the commitments in our multiple processes to improving access to and capacity for data and technology; the next step is to make concrete steps forward in remedying our deficiencies in the areas of capacity building, data collection and analysis, statistical systems, and data disaggregation.

We therefore urge the immediate mobilization of resources and support in this regard. We welcome the ongoing initiatives to address the transformative agenda for official statistics with objectives to modernize and strengthen the global, regional, sub-regional and national statistical systems, irrespective of the level of statistical development. We are hopeful that this will help us by increasing the capacity of our statistical systems to respond more effectively and efficiently to the new policy requirements. This will ultimately enable us to be more flexible in addressing our specific challenges in producing statistics.

That said, the key criteria to effectively harnessing the global "data revolution" will be having coherent and coordinated efforts across the UN system and with its partners. There are numerous UN entities, as well as external stakeholders, taking steps forward to provide partnerships and end this gap of knowledge and resources. It is necessary, to avoid overlap, repetition, and wasted resources, to undertake a coordinated approach. This does not mean that all entities implement collectively; instead it could involve continual, substantive communication between the numerous entities working to address data accessibility, with organizations working to their comparative advantage.

We participated in the UN Statistical Commission's recent meeting reviewing the status of the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on SDG Indicators (IAEG-SDGs). We appreciate the transparency of this process and urge continued engagement with representatives of all countries to ensure that no states are left behind in our efforts to begin understanding our capacity to act on the indicators.

We believe that data and statistics provide information that is useful guidance for forecasting, prevention, and in developing thoughtful, evidence based policy that speaks to the realities of our economies, environment, and our populations. Having access to this information, and the capacity to use it effectively, can help make more informed decisions and investments that better serve our people and the planet.

Our small size and remoteness, along with environmental challenges, places us often in a disadvantaged position when faced with standardized approaches. Even where data exists, it is often the case that information from our countries is not used or relevant. We therefore urge that some consideration be given to address these factors. The challenge for all countries remains developing initiatives to improve capacity where it is needed, and for that support to align with national priorities and be nationally driven where possible.

Thank you