75th UN General Assembly

Must strengthen commitment to UN principles to revive true spirit of multilateralism: FM Shahid

  • He noted the government's commitment to stand ready to do its part just as the island nation did, 55 years ago
  • For countries such as Maldives where tourism contributes 75 percent of GDP, the loss caused by Covid-19 has been immeasurable
  • Maldives firmly believes that a “rights-based approach” prioritizes the empowerment of all segments f the society especially women and youth

K. Male' 2020 Sep 29 | Tue 22:35 local 2,121

Maldives Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abdulla Shahid - Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid / Twitter

Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid has called on the international community to join hands in commitment to the principles of the United Nations in order to revive the true spirit of multilateralism.

In his pre-recorded address to the General Debate of the 75th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, the minister shed light on the government of Maldives’ commitment to stand ready to do its part just as the island nation did, 55 years ago.

Highlighting the need to join hands with determination to uphold peace, preserve fundamental human rights, human dignity and the worth of every person and nation, FM Shahid noted that the international community must commit to practice tolerance, promote dialogue over violence and employ global cooperation for the advancement of all.

Recalling the first ever words spoken by the Permanent Representative of Maldives to the UN, Ahmed Hilmy Didi who spoke at the chamber 55 years ago when Maldives declared its firm conviction that “the UN is the chief architect” of peace.

FM Shahid asserted that the conviction remains “stronger than ever”, 55 years later.

Today, as we grapple with one of the greatest global challenges in recent history, deliberating “the future we want, the United Nations we need” and “reaffirming our collective commitment to multilateralism” not only seems opportune but a necessity"

~ Abdulla Shahid, Maldives Minister of Foreign Affairs

Maldives responded to the health impacts of Covid-19, which caused the country’s tourism industry to come to a complete standstill for over three months, decline in revenues and incline in debts, by declaring a state of public health emergency. In his speech the minister also shed light on some of the important measures that followed.

The aim is to ensure that the development gains we have made over the past decades are not eroded; to ensure that development projects promised and planned go forward without delay; and to ensure that our commitment to the 2030 Agenda, ensuring that no one is left behind, does not remain unfulfilled”

~ Abdulla Shahid, Maldives Minister of Foreign Affairs

Speaking on the lessons learnt from the pandemic, FM Shahid stated that not every country has been affected in equal measure, as such, for countries such as Maldives where tourism contributes 75 percent of GDP, “the loss has been immeasurable”.

FM Shahid thanked partners who have provided generous financial, material and technical support during the crisis.

As we rebuild our economies after Covid, it must not be business as usual. We have to use this as an opportunity to build back greener. In doing so, no country should be left alone. This is another opportunity to reduce emissions to keep global temperature rise below 1.5 celsius. Let us make the road to Glasgow, one that is paved with meaningful action that includes all. Meaningful action is also required towards the protection of our ocean. Millions of people rely on the ocean and its bounty, for their survival"

~ Abdulla Shahid, Maldives Minister of Foreign Affairs

Highlighting that ensuring human rights is fundamental to a progressive society and sustainable development, FM Shahid noted that promotion and protection of human rights is a cornerstone of the president’s administration since inception.

Maldives firmly believes that a “rights-based approach” prioritizes the empowerment of all segments f the society especially women and youth and for the first time, Maldives is working on a draft youth bill that will ensure the rights of youth as well as their participation in decision-making, said FM Shahid.

Mainstreaming gender equality in society, and in public life, is an ongoing process - a process that no country has completed. As we move towards marking the 25th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women, every effort must be made to reaching the vision of Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. It is because of the importance the Maldives places on the promotion and protection of human rights that the Government has taken the decision to present its candidature for the Human Rights Council for the term 2023-2025. We believe that domestic and global efforts to promote and protect human rights go hand-in-hand. And as a Small, Island State, we wish to share the unique experiences of our efforts to align our laws, and cultivate a culture of respect for human rights”

~ Abdulla Shahid, Maldives Minister of Foreign Affairs

Further, the minister shed light on the most complex and challenging global issue of our time; terrorism, which requires cooperation to address the root causes.

FM Shahid went on to state that UN still represents “the best hope for humanity and cooperation, the best platform for dialogue, the best check against the rising tide of ultra-nationalism, and xenophobia”, although the international community agrees that UN requires reform.

Last updated at: 3 weeks ago | Reviewed by: Simaha Naseem

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