H. E. Mr. Ahmed Khaleel, Chairperson of the Delegation
29 September 2008
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AHMED KHALEEL (Maldives) spoke of his country’s progress in strengthening and modernizing democratic governance, saying that its new constitution guaranteed civil liberties and fundamental freedoms. Institutions established to safeguard democracy were operational, and steps were being taken to restructure the legal and judicial system to align it with internationally accepted standards. The country was set to hold its first multiparty presidential election next week.
Since joining the United Nations in 1965, the country had also made significant socio-economic progress in pursuing a people-centric path to sustainable development, he said. The Millennium Development Goals were fully incorporated into national development priorities, and four years ago, the General Assembly had decided to promote the Maldives from the list of least developed countries. It was also being hailed as a major success story of the multilateral development assistance framework. However, those achievements would be meaningless if environmental sustainability could not be guaranteed. Climate change posed the most immediate threat to human security, compromising such fundamental rights as self-determination and the right to life itself. Global warming and changing weather patterns undermined the lives and livelihoods of millions.
Small island developing States were particularly vulnerable to global warming, and the very existence of the Maldives was threatened, he said. Small island States had no time for hesitation and inaction. Global warming was a development issue, but also a moral, ethical, political, legal, human rights and security one. The Maldives had decided to raise the issue at the Human Rights Council in 2008. “The inverse relationship between responsibility for climate change and vulnerability to its consequences is often overlooked.” Small island States contributed the least, yet suffered the most from climate change. A comprehensive, rights-based approach to sustainable and just development, anchored in the concept of common but differentiated responsibility, was imperative.
The interrelationship between climate change, food security and the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals could not be overemphasized, he said. More than 100 million people were being driven into poverty by the current global crises. The solution lay in a fair and equitable trading regime. The successful completion of the Doha Development Round, and successful outcomes to the post-Bali negotiations and the Financing for Development Conference in Qatar were critical to that end.