Assalaamu Alaikum,

Your Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen;

It is my privilege to speak at this important forum and outline our priorities for the post Covid-19 international order. That order should be one that is just and beneficial to all nations. This pandemic has highlighted the particular vulnerabilities of small island states such as the Maldives. Our economy is dependent entirely on tourism, yet we chose to close our borders for months to safeguard our population from the disease.

We have eased restrictions and opened our borders in gradual phases. But as global patterns of air travel remain uncertain, without the assistance of the global community, we will feel the economic repercussions of the pandemic for years to come. We need financial assistance and debt-relief to reduce the strain on our national budget and help us preserve our foreign currency reserves; technical assistance to help us diversify our economy; and foreign investment to help us build resilient communities.

Finally, we need the global community to be more responsive to the particular concerns of small island states. Within the next year or two this pandemic will end but the climate emergency remains. That is an even more serious threat to humanity. The pandemic has been illustrative of two important facts: in today’s world, the effects of crises cannot be confined to borders; and they cannot be resolved without collective action. Let us acknowledge these lessons and work together to leave future generations a world that is sustainable and in balance with nature. That is the only way in which we can truly build for the future.

Thank you.