Mr. Secretary General, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen.

We come to these forums and reiterate the same points: that climate change is the defining issue of the 21st century; that a failure to address it will endanger the planet’s health and the lives of every generation that follow us; that the science is irrefutable. We hope that the moral force of our argument is strong enough, to finally compel the global community to take effective action. Because we cannot compromise on our survival.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am certain that other small island states present here today seek realistic solutions, just like us. This is precisely why the Maldives has formulated a holistic plan encompassing achievable targets for small islands to address the ravages of climate change. Our plan was further bolstered by the support we received from fellow members of the AOSIS and SIDS, and other key development agencies, to whom we remain grateful.

Our “Climate Smart Resilient Islands” plan comprises deliverable targets around 11 key areas, including designation of environmentally protected areas, installation of new technology, establishing inter-island connectivity, safeguarding food and water security, promoting green tourism, ensuring climate-resilient infrastructure, transitioning to renewable energy, and sustainable waste management, among others.

This plan outlines my vision for the Maldivian people; the pledges are realistic and achievable, and prioritize building a sustainable society in harmony with our fragile ecosystem; we intend to conserve eco-rich areas, phase-out single use plastics, rapidly transit to renewable energy in the transportation and tourism sectors. We have committed ourselves to a timeline with each target, and we fully intend to implement these while according full consideration to intergenerational partnership, gender equality and the role of youth.

I call upon other SIDS to replicate our model to achieve a post-carbon economy and climate-smart development pathway that will, in turn, safeguard our people from climate associated risks in the future.

However, to realize this initiative, and for this to grow, finance needs to be made available. In 2010, a goal was set to make a 100 billion dollars of financing available for developing countries by 2020. We are in September 2019 and 2020 is just a few months away. It is with great regret I note that the realization of finance for that target is way below expectation. Among the available finance, the share is far less for a vulnerable community like the SIDS. Access to finance needs to change for the better.

You have heard our concerns. We have told you about the measures that we intend to take. We are now asking you to do your due diligence. We are asking you to do better. To do more.

Thank you.