Speech by His Excellency Abdulla Jihad, Vice President of the Republic of Maldives, at the Ministerial Meeting of the Alliance of Small Island States on the Initiative for Renewable Island Energy
10 October 2017, Ref: PS/NRAJ/2017/9

بســم اللّـه الرّحمـن الرّحيــم

.اَلحَمْـدُ لِلّـهِ رَبّ العَـالَمِـين، وَالصّـلاة وَالسّلام علـى سيّدنا محـمَّدٍ وَعلـى آلـه وَصَحْبِـهِ أجمـعـين

Minister Thoriq Ibrahim, Ministers, Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,


First of all before I start my speech I would also like to join Minister Thoriq to convey our deepest sympathy to those people who are affected in the Caribbean and part of USA during the recent hurricane. Our deepest sympathy goes to them.


It gives me great pleasure to welcome the AOSIS family to the Maldives, the sunny side of life and address this momentous gathering. The Government of Maldives is honoured to host our island brothers and sisters from around the globe. We have come here today in solidarity and with a common purpose, one in which we all have a stake; the promise of a better tomorrow.


It has been nearly three decades since the Maldives was last graced with such a gathering of the Ministers of the Small Island States. The previous occasion was for the first Small States Conference on Sea Level Rise in 1989. Fourteen of us issued a call for the “states of the world family of nations to take immediate and effective measures to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases.”


Flipping through those historical documents, the same sense of urgency that culminated in the Conference was palpable. The Ministers had a strong understanding of the heavy weight of the challenge the world was facing. And yet, there was also a note of hope that international cooperation could deliver effective climate change adaptation and mitigation solutions, to ensure a safe and healthy planet, even for the smallest and most vulnerable group like us. It comes as no surprise that AOSIS was formed the very next year and has been one of the most influential advocates for climate action ever since.


Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I think it is fair to say that there would be no Paris Agreement if it were not for the efforts of AOSIS. You might even call it our crowning achievement. The Maldives is proud to have served as Chair during the critical year of 2016, and of course, your timeless effort, and sleepless days and nights shouldn’t go uncredited here. Thank you Minister Thoriq for Chairing. But now is no time to rest on our laurels. It is incumbent on every one of us to make sure that the Paris Agreement succeeds, and the best way we can do is to fully implement the nationally determined contributions or (NDCs), while we seek to Ghana long-standing international commitment to the Paris climate accord. Renewable energy is a central component to our NDCs as it is for most of you. The Maldives is proud of its recent progress in this area.


Nonetheless, we want to do much more, not only to demonstrate our commitment to addressing climate change, but also because it is now a top development priority. We are implementing the most ambitious plan ever, to meet 30 percent of the daily power demand by renewable energy sources for all our small islands. So far we have I think Minister Thoriq will know more, we have installed more than 6MW of renewable energy and we will increase this number to 20MW by 2020. I think this is achievable.


We would not have however actualized our ambitions, and continue to attain new heights, if it were not of our partners like you. I am heartened to know that several are in this several people who helped us are in this meeting today.

Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

We have come a long way since the first SIDS meeting in 1989, when renewable energy probably seemed to be a strange, distant and expensive prospect for our countries. Now, it is the most desirable option available. We are all familiar with the benefits that renewable energy can bring to our Islands let it be the increased energy security, healthier balance of trade, reduce local pollution. It could go on and on. I think Minister Thoriq will have a long list of benefits.


As recognized by our member countries, the last time we gathered in Maldives so many years ago, the way forward was through cooperation and solidarity. Such was the spirit in 1989 when SIDS issued their urgent call to the world. Such was the spirit in Paris, I can see even here, which gave us a new climate treaty. And such must be the spirit with which each and every country of the world should undertake the transformation into more sustainable low cost-carbon economies.


Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to stop here. But before I conclude I would like to give special thanks to International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) which I myself have been there for their active involvement to bring the initiative to life. I also like to thank the donors, I think I would like to include Italy for their generous offers and for their continued support.


I have full confidence that the trust and solidarity among us will continue to grow, enabling us to reap the fruits of the initiative we are launching today.


I wish the Meeting and all our distinguished foreign delegates a comfortable stay in Maldives. Welcome to sunny side of life. Enjoy.

Thank you for very much for listening.


والسّلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته


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