5 June 2014, Male’: “This year marks a pivotal point in our efforts to promote action on climate change and environmental degradation” said H.E. Ms. Dunya Maumoon, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Maldives. On the occasion of the World Environment Day, which is marked on 5 June of every year, Minister Dunya highlighted the importance of taking concrete actions on all climate and environmental challenges before time runs out.
This year’s theme “Small Islands and Climate Change” and the official slogan of this year “Raise Your Voice Not the Sea Level” are of special significance to the Maldives especially as Small Island States continuing to face unsurpassed challenges due to climate change and associated environmental challenges. The Minister called on all international partners, big and small, to unite in the combine their efforts in true partnerships, to achieve the sustainable development of SIDS as well as tackle the global environmental challenges of our time. In this regard, the Minister reiterated the Maldives’s hope that key conferences and processes such as the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States to be held in Apia, Samoa in September 2014, the negotiations of a new climate treaty at the Meetings of States Parties of the UNFCCC in Lima, Peru this year and in Paris, France in 2015, the negotiations of the Sustainable Development Goals that will formally begin this year, would be successful, and take into account the particular and unique vulnerabilities of SIDS.
Minister Dunya also highlighted that “the adverse impacts of environment degradation are the biggest challenge faced by the country today”. For an island nation with 80% of its land less than two meters above sea level, climate change and its impacts are indescribable. The latest Report [by the IPCC] has proven thatclimate change is neither just an environmental issue nor a scientific thesis, but is of a question of the survival of each and every nation around the planet, irrespective of its size. It is our actions that would deteriorate these impacts.
The Minister also reiterated that the Maldives continues to bein the frontline while refusing to remain a victim, and have been an agent of change in addressing environmental issues. The Maldives is currently in the process of developing a low carbon development strategy which paints a promising picture not only for the nation but the world. Internationally, the Maldives has led efforts to emphasize the links between human rights and climate change, as well as the plight of small states. However, the Minister noted that the Maldives, and any other country working alone would not be able to deliver durable solutions, but the world must unite to provide lasting and comprehensive solutions to the environmental challenges of our times. “It is the hope of the Maldives, along with a number of other states, that the world remains interested and continues to seek to deliver solutions and work together.”