Statement by the Republic of Maldives

on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States

at the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development

11 July 2016


Session: "Ensuring that no one is left behind – Fostering economic growth, prosperity, and sustainability"

Mr. Chairman, Excellencies, Distinguished Colleagues,

1. Thank you for this very enlightening discussion. I am delivering these remarks on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States.

2. The full implementation of the 2030 Agenda rests on the strides we make in sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth. Conflict, unrest, and environmental degradation - all follow from the uncertainties that arise from poverty and inequality. However, while we devise strategies and policies to drive the massive economic growth that is required in the poorest of regions, we have to be mindful to not repeat mistakes made in the past.

3. We all know the consequences of economic growth at the expense of the the social and environmental dimensions. Exploitation of natural resources without considering its long-term impacts has led us to an era of resource depletion and environmental degradation. Without working in harmony with nature, we cannot achieve sustainable development. Secondly, it is not just our patterns of production that need to change, but also our consumption needs. Our efforts should lie in ensuring basic needs and provisions for all – and that must remain our top priority. The 2030 Agenda highlights the need to ensure sustainable consumption and production, including through the implementation of the 10 Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns, with developed countries taking the lead, and we must urgently act on this. Inclusive, sustained and sustainable economic growth can only be achieved through a people-centric, bottom-up approach that includes the most vulnerable. Methods that are aligned with these key principles have proven to be sustainable and durable in our countries and around the world.

4. There are many advances being made in renewable energy, in sustainable transport methods, in safer, resilient infrastructure technology – innovation that will undoubtedly lead to better, safer, healthier environments, in addition to advancing sustainable economic development and well being. Investing in technology and innovation for these ends is therefore important.

5. Equally important is access to technology and related know-how. While there are many advances in this regard, access to and the ability to use technology need to advance in equal strides. Towards these ends, we need to work on realizing the related targets under technology transfer in the 2030 Agenda.

6. For us SIDS, domestic resource mobilization to achieve adequate financing remains a key challenge. A narrow resource base, coupled with small populations dispersed over many islands make revenue collection extremely difficult and expensive. In many cases, private investment is not feasible because of little to no economic returns. Added to this are extreme natural hazards that multiply rehabilitation and reconstruction costs. For all of these reasons, international public finance remains critical and central to our sustainable development.

I thank you.