“Maldives urges the UN development boards to support the special circumstances of SIDS in their programmes

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.