Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Mohamed Asim, while speaking at the General Debate of the United Nations Seventy Second Session, stated that unpredictable weather, more frequent and intense natural disasters, unprecedented temperatures, are the norm rather than exception.

He emphasized on the importance of cooperation, partnership and leadership in tackling the challenges faced by Climate Change and reiterated the commitment of Maldives to continue its leadership and efforts on this regard.

Minister Asim also briefed on the work carried at the national level to transition to a low carbon economy and informed that the Maldives, as the Chair of AOSIS, and in collaboration with IRENA, has launched the Initiative for Renewable Island Energy (IRIE), which will facilitate support for Small Island States in their transition to renewable energy, and in achieving energy efficiency. Minister added that the Maldives is looking at innovative approaches to fulfil the developmental needs of the people that do not compromise the needs of the planet.

Minister Asim further underscored the importance of ocean conservation by using sustainable methods to utilize its resources. “Climate change, sustainable development, and the protection of our ocean – these are not trends or passing fascinations – inaction would cost us our progress, prosperity, and the lives of our people – the future of all our nations” he said. In his speech, Minister noted the sustainable pole-and-line fishing methods of Maldives as well as the numerous measures undertaken for ocean conservation and protection. The Maldives has recently assumed the Chairmanship of the “Save Our Sharks” Coalition.

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Mohamed Asim expressed the readiness of the Maldives to take a non-permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council, while delivering the Maldives statement at the United Nations General debate this afternoon.

Minister Asim stated that the Maldives vision for the United Nations is founded on President Abdullah Yameen Abdul Gayoom’s policy of strengthening national resilience – economic, social, political and environmental resilience. It is based on crafting meaningful global solutions built on strong national policies and experiences, for the common problems for the common, and shared destiny.

Minister Asim also noted that throughout the Maldives membership at the United Nations, it has worked with a vision of a United Nations that protects people, providing them with a safe haven, and access to their rights, preserves the planet and one that promotes peace. Minister added that the Maldives has focused on providing meaningful, pragmatic, real solutions, based on sound national experience, for the common shared destiny.

Minister Asim expressed determination of Maldives and stressed that it deserves an equal chance to serve at the United Nations Security Council. “It is because we have never served before – It is the promise of equality of representation, our conviction that every nation – large or small – should have a voice, and can make a difference – our firm conviction that size does not determine destiny or value, that in our fifty-two years of membership of the United Nations, for the first time, we are seeking a seat on the United Nations Security Council for the term 2019-2020” said the Minister.

The Maldives presented its candidature for a non-permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council for the term 2019-2020 in 2008.

Addressing at the General Debate of the United Nations General Assembly, Minister Asim highlighted many aspects of social and economic progress enjoyed by the Maldives, under the stewardship of President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom. Among others, he noted the progress made on gender equality, support provided for persons with disabilities & elderly, universal healthcare and progress in the area of health, affordable housing, achievements in education and investment on youth.

“Adopting a proactive and constructive stand is our approach. Sustained and targeted investment is our policy. Looking to cultivate a culture of respect for human rights, at home and abroad, is our goal. We believe we have been successful”, said Minister Asim.

In his address, Minister Asim also stressed on the difficulties faced by middle income countries such as the Maldives to access financing, for much needed large investment projects. According to Minister, this forces middle income countries, to go with commercial interest rates, increasing their debt burden and makes the transition, out of the middle income box to higher levels of development, all the more challenging. Minister Asim reflected on this speaking on the necessity of large scale investments to achieve higher growth. ‘Investments are not only a means to support our economic development, but a means to support our social development as well’ he said.

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Mohamed Asim, called on the President of Nauru, Mr. Baron Waqa, this morning.

At a meeting held at the Permanent Mission of Nauru, both Minister Asim and President Waqa discussed ways to further strengthen the close bilateral ties between both the Maldives and Nauru.

The meeting was held at the sidelines of the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly.

The Maldives hosted a Side-Event entitled “Countering Violent Extremism: Promoting Community Level Prevention” at the margins of the Seventy Second Session of the United Nations General Assembly this afternoon.

The event was held in partnership with the Permanent Mission of Saudi Arabia to the United Nations. The event was moderated by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Mohamed Asim.

During Minister Asim’s speech, he stated that no country is immune from the threat of Violent extremism and that it spreads fear, hate, and it challenges the States, and the democratic order in the country. Minister stated that extremists propagate ideology of hate and division, ideologies that reject the Islamic teachings and the values of democratic, progressive, and inclusive societies.

Minister further briefed the delegations on the efforts by the government to combat violent extremism. He said that the comprehensive policy of President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, unequivocally condemns all forms of support for, and participation in, any acts of terrorism and violent extremism. Minister also noted the Anti-Terrorism Act passed in 2015 which enables law enforcement agencies and the prosecuting authorities to specifically address foreign terrorist fighters and those providing financial or material support to terrorist or violent extremist organisations.

Major Hassan Amir from the National Counter Terrorism Centre of the Maldives also delivered a presentation during the Side-Event, highlighting on the baseline study that was carried out in the Maldives on extremist ideologies to evaluate the characteristics, the extent and severity of violent extremism and terrorism.

The side event hosted by Maldives and Saudi Arabia, sought to promote better cooperation among Governments in sharing experiences and best practices in preventing the narratives of the violent extremists from being spread.

The High Level panelists who took part in the event include the Permanent Representative of Saudi Arabia to the United Nations Mr. Abdallah Y. Al-Mouallimi, Dr. Raffi Gregorian, Acting Deputy Coordinator, Bureau of Counterterrorism, United States Department of State and Dr. Jehangir Khan, Director of the United Nations Office of Counter- Terrorism. A number of delegations participated in the discussions, including Canada, UAE, Belgium and Italy, highlighting on the community level work being carried out in their respective countries to counter violent extremism.