Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid, on Tuesday, asserted the importance of global solidarity, in reviving the spirit of multilateralism to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic.
The minister expressed the sentiment during Maldives’ pre-recorded video statement at the General Debate of the 75th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
The 2020 theme for the General Debate is “The future we want, the United Nations we need: reaffirming our collective commitment to multilateralism – confronting COVID-19 through effective multilateral action.”
In addition to stressing the necessity of a coordinated and unified response, Minister Shahid asserted that the COVID-19 pandemic had revealed asymmetries in the international system.
Particularly highlighting the debt burdens on the economies of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), including Maldives, the foreign minister expressed appreciation towards the G20 debt service suspension initiative. Stating that recoveries would still be in the recovery process when the initiate is presently scheduled to conclude, he requested that the G20 extend the suspension until the end of 2021.
Despite the disruptions caused by the pandemic, the Minister Shahid reassured that Maldives remained committed to achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.
Additionally, Shahid spoke of the urgent need to achieve the ambitions outlined in the Paris Agreement to address the threatening issues of climate change and marine plastic pollution. He stated that economic recovery efforts following the COVID-19 pandemic would present an opportunity to "build back greener".
Reiterating the priority accorded to the protection and promotion of human rights by the administration of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, Minister Shahid expressed Maldives' willingness to convey its unique experiences as a Small Island Developing State amid efforts to align domestic legislative instruments with international obligations.
Furthermore, the minister reaffirmed Maldives’ long-standing position on the Israel-Palestine conflict and the plight of the Rohingya in Myanmar's Rakhine, as well as voicing concern regarding terrorism.
Minister Shahid concluded his address by acknowledging the UN's crucial role in the international arena as the body celebrated its 75th anniversary, despite noting the necessity of initiating reforms to suit current global dynamics.
“The UN still presents the best hope for humanity” stated the foreign minister, as he reaffirmed the unwavering commitment of Maldives to the UN, regardless of its size.