IBRAHIM MOHAMED SOLIH, President of Maldives, expressed concern that COVID‑19 has pushed achievements and successes back years. “From our small island nations to the Powers spanning continents, the consequences of COVID-19 have been the same,” he said, calling States to work together in solidarity.
Pointing out the catastrophic outcome caused by the coronavirus on his country, whose economy relies on tourism and imports, he said: “Tourists stopped arriving. Foreign currency receipts dropped. Businesses went under. The lockdown hindered social well-being. It set back years of schooling for our beloved children.” With measures taken, “we were able to tackle the pandemic,” he continued, stating that his Government has vaccinated 95 per cent of all school children and 85 per cent of all residents, and reopened schools, business, borders and resorts.
On global warming, citing a recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, he noted that the past five years have been the hottest ever recorded. The planet has become 1.1°C warmer. “The difference between 1.5°C and 2°C is a death sentence for the Maldives,” he said, adding that, if the current trend continues unabated, Maldivians, as well as those on other island States, would face a plight of “existential threat”. While calling upon the world’s wealthy nations to help smaller nations in the form of capacity-building, technology transfer and financial resources, he said that his country has put forward an ambitious plan to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2030, he said.
Noting that Maldives is not immune from the threat of terrorism and extremism, recalling the deadly attacked it faced on 6 May, he condemned terrorism in all its forms and reiterated his Government’s steadfast commitment to address the scourge together with the international community.
He further reaffirmed his country’s solidarity with the Palestinian people, and that it will continue to fight for the full recognition of an independent Palestinian State. As a neighbour in the wider South Asia region, Maldives is concerned about the long-term peace and stability of Afghanistan, he said, calling on all actors to ensure the safety of the people, the protection and realization of the rights of women and girls, and that steps are taken to form an inclusive and representative Government for its people.
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