Speech by UN Resident Coordinator Ms. Shoko Noda at the Signing Ceremony of UNDAF 2016-2020
Her Excellency Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ms. Dunya Maumoon
Members of UNDAF Outcome Groups
Ladies and Gentlemen!
It is an honor and a privilege for me to be here today. On behalf of the United Nations in the Maldives I renew our partnership with the Government and the development partners. The 2016-2020 United Nations Development Framework (UNDAF) being signed here today is the result of collaboration by the Government, UN agencies, civil society and development partners. The framework represents the UN and partners’ joint support to the country over the next five year.
This event comes on a landmark year. Alongside Maldives’ golden jubilee of independence, on September 21st, the Maldives will also mark its 50th anniversary of membership in the United Nations. The Maldives has made remarkable strides and undergone transformational changes since gaining independence and the 50 years of engagement with the United Nations.
Maldives is a success story in many aspects. Significant alleviation of poverty, achievement of universal primary education, prolonged life expectancy, access to infrastructure and public services, and expansion of the economy are all impressive achievements. It is a Middle Income Country (MIC) and has achieved “MDG+” status. The country is also experiencing relative political stability.
Against these achievements, there are also challenges. The MDGs on gender equality, environmental sustainability and global partnership need attention. The youth unemployment rate is high, calling for more productive youth engagement. The political status requires greater space for civil society, enhanced freedom of expression, and strengthened justice system. Lastly but crucially, climate related vulnerabilities need resilient and sustainable actions.
In light of these development challenges, the UNDAF will focus on four areas: (1) Youth and Children, (2) Gender, (3) Governance and (4) Environment and Climate Change. Across these themes social inclusion of vulnerable groups will receive special focus. Equitable distribution of development benefits will be promoted. Institutions will be strengthened and evidence- based policy formulation will be implemented. This framework will support, promote and monitor the implementation of international agreements and obligations of Maldives. This framework will mainstream human rights, gender equality and environmental sustainability.
Through UNDAF, the United Nations in the Maldives further pledges to sustain the gains of MDGs. As the Maldives prepares with world leaders to adopt a bold new vision for sustainable development, the United Nations renew its support to localize the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As an equal partner of development, United Nations will continue this passage of progress with the people and the Government.
This ceremony is the beginning of an important development journey. Throughout the next 5 years, the Government of Maldives and the United Nations will closely implement and monitor achievements of the agreed results. This will be arranged through annual joint planning and monitoring. I count on the leadership of the Foreign Ministry and the Government lead agencies to keep the momentum. I am certain that together we shall achieve our common vision and obtain a secure and common future for the Maldives and all Maldivians.