New York, 14 February 2017:

Maldives, on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) made statements at the Executive Board meetings of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and UN Women for the year 2017.

Speaking at the Executive Board of the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Population Fund and the United Nations Office for Project Services, the Deputy Permanent Representative of the Maldives to the United Nations, Ms. Farzana Zahir applauded the work of the outgoing Administrator of UNDP, Ms. Helen Clark, and urged UNDP to continue their support for SIDS. Emphasizing the importance of aligning its activities with the mandates of the 2030 Agenda and the recently adopted QCPR, AOSIS asked the Board to consider the special circumstances of SIDS while bringing structural improvements to the Resident Coordinator System. In this regard, the statement noted that SIDS rely heavily on a coherent UN presence and therfore expressed concern in the operation of multi-country offices.

At the UNICEF Excecutive Board’s Regular Session, Ms. Zahir noted the critical importance of youth and children in sustainable development and the need to forge strong partnerships to “protect children from crime, trafficking and sexual exploitation”, at the First Regular Session of the UNICEF Executive Board. Urging Board Members to streamline the 2016 QCPR, Samoa Pathway and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in their plans, AOSIS also asked for evaluations of programmes to be undertaken with consideration of the “unique vulnerabilities” of Small Island Developing States.

In the statement made at the Executive Board of UN Women, the Maldives reiterated its call for targeted and coordinated support for island states and asked for more coordination of the Board’s work with that of its entities in the field. Ms. Zahir spoke to the cross cutting issue of gender equality in pursuing sustainable development, noting that the ecological and economic vulnerabilities that SIDS face disproportionately affect women and girls in island societies.

06 February 2017, Male’

The Third Meeting of the Maldives – Sri Lanka Joint Commission is scheduled to be held from 8 – 9 February 2017 in Male’. The Minister of Foreign Affairs His Excellency Dr. Mohamed Asim will lead the Maldivian delegation and the Minister of Foreign Affairs Honourable Mangala Samaraweera will lead the Sri Lankan delegation.

The Maldives – Sri Lanka Joint Commission was established in 1984 with the primary aim of improving bilateral relations in all spheres. The First Session of the Joint Commission was held in 2006 and this Session will be an opportunity for the Maldives and Sri Lanka to further strengthen their partnership.

An Agreed Minutes will be signed to conclude the Joint Commission meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

6 February 2016, New York:

At the 55th meeting of the Commission on Social Development, the theme of which was “Strategies for eradicating poverty to achieve sustainable development for all”, held on 1-10 February 2017 at United Nations Headquarters in New York, the Maldives called attention to the key role of human capital development to eliminating poverty and realizing sustainable development.

Speaking at the meeting, Permanent Representative of Maldives to the United Nations, Ambassador Ahmed Sareer shared his country’s experiences in poverty reduction as an example of how states, particularly Small Island Developing States (SIDS) can effectively tailor poverty-reduction and inclusive growth policies to the needs and realities of their national contexts. As a country where young people comprise a large share of the population, priority has been given to the improvement of education, the creation of employment opportunities for youth, and encouraging youth entrepreneurship, noted the Ambassador. The Maldives also highlighted the attention given by the Government to gender parity and to implement policies that support women’s ability to work.

Ambassador Sareer further noted that size, geographical disparity and narrow economic base make SIDS like the Maldives exceptionally vulnerable to external shocks and more prone to disruption in their development trajectory.  He therefore emphasized that there could not be a one-size-fits-all approach to eradicating poverty, and strategies needed to be adapted to national contexts and people-oriented in order for meaningful progress to be made towards achieving sustainable development.

1 February 2017, Nepal

Under the Chairmanship of Nepal, the Fifty-third Session of the SAARC Programming Committee has commenced today.

The two-day meeting will consider and make recommendations on matters related to Regional Centres and Specialized Bodies of SAARC such as the South Asian University, the SAARC Development Fund, SAARC Arbitration Council and the South Asian

Standardization Organisation. The Committee will also deliberate on matters related to important areas of cooperation such as agriculture, rural development, terrorism, narcotic drugs, social affairs, information and media.

The delegation of the Maldives to the Programming Committee is headed by Ms. Aishath Azeema, Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Ms. Aishath Azeema is accompanied by Mr. Ismail Mamdhooh, Assistant Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.