Minister Shahid speaks at AOSIS 30th anniversary event

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abdulla Shahid speaking virtually virtually at the event commemorating the 30th anniversary of AOSIS. Photo via AOSIS

Male’, Maldives – Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abdulla Shahid has given a statement virtually at the event commemorating the 30th anniversary of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS).

Reflecting on the 1989 meeting that Minister Shahid believes laid the foundation for AOSIS, the Minister said that fourteen small States gathered in the Maldives for the first ever small states conference on sea level rise, and declared their “intent to work, collaborate and seek international cooperation to protect the low lying small coastal and island States of the world from the dangers posed by climate change, global warming and sea level rise”.

Minister Shahid described AOSIS as “an alliance that brought all of us together on the issues that threatened our lives and livelihoods. An alliance that provided a strong voice for the easily marginalized voices of Small Island States.”

He noted that while the anniversary provides an opportunity to applaud progressions by the alliance, lot remains to be done, particularly due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which has brought numerous new challenges to the table.

Shahid pointed out the danger of losing multiple developmental achievements made since the formulation of the alliance, as member countries are facing unprecedented challenges brought on by Covid-19, coupled with the existing climate change issues.

“The Covid pandemic should not halt our momentum on climate action. AOSIS must stand united in responding to the call by the Secretary-General for a green recovery from the pandemic, and the adoption of his proposed climate actions to shape economic recovery. Building back better is building back greener.” The Minister said.

Minister Shahid said that Small Island Developing States (SIDS), will need the support of the international community to recover and urged soliciting support for a ‘SIDS Compact’ that entails specific financial instruments in the short, medium and long term to help SIDS meet the ongoing challenges of the pandemic, service their debt, and increase their limited fiscal space.

Shahid also thanked international financial institutions who have generously extended financial, material and technical support to SIDS during the pandemic and welcomed the G20’s announcement of a Common Framework for Debt Treatments beyond the debt service suspension initiative, however he added that more concrete steps are also needed to allow vulnerable countries to reduce their debt burdens.

While congratulating all members of the Alliance celebrating their 30th anniversary, Minister Shahid also congratulated the current chairwoman of AOSIS Ambassador Lois Michele Young and her country Belize, for her dynamic leadership in steering the work of AOSIS.

He added that the The Maldives is proud to be an AOSIS member since its inception, and is honored to have chaired the Alliance from 2015 to 2018, during which the Former Minister of Environment and Energy, Maldives Thoriq Ibrahim acted as chairperson to the alliance.