Male’ Maldives: The following statement is made by the United Nations in the Maldives, concerning the 11th Atolls Chiefs Meeting with the United Nations on the 11th of May 2006 at Nasandhura.  

At the invitation of the Minister for Atolls Development, the Honourable Mohamed Waheed Deen, the United Nations Maldives (UN) was invited to make a presentation at the 11th Atoll Chiefs Meeting on Thursday, 11 May 2006. This was the first time that the UN had been invited to address the meeting and we look forward to building on this in the near future.

The United Nations Resident Coordinator, Mr Patrice Coeur-Bizot, on behalf of the UN Country Team, Maldives, wishes to thank the Atoll Chiefs for the opportunity to participate in this meeting and discuss issues of importance to all participants. The Resident Coordinator, together with the UN Country Team, comprising of UNICEF, UNDP, UNFPA, FAO, WHO and the OHCHR Senior Human Rights Advisor, together with the representatives of the World Bank and Asia Development Bank, made a presentation outlining the work of the United Nations, including the recovery programme and how it relates to the development efforts in the Atolls.   During the presentation, it was noted that since the tsunami, the UN, through its core funds and the support of bilateral donors and the general public, had mobilized over US$80m and these resources were being used in shelter reconstruction, livelihoods, water and sanitation, disaster management, health, and protection of women and children, to name but a few areas in which the UN is working in partnership with national authorities and local communities.

The Resident Coordinator noted that the Maldives still faces an unmet need of around US$100m but reassured the Atoll Chiefs that recovery remains high on the agenda and the UN is fully committed to supporting the national efforts to mobilize additional resources.   The UN acknowledged that that the pace of recovery has not been as fast as all of us would have liked and that this has caused hardship for people in some of the Atolls but the United Nations reaffirmed its commitment to supporting the national authorities in their endeavours.

The UN reiterated its support for the moves towards decentralization and full participatory democracy. It encouraged Atoll Chiefs to embrace the changes which these processes will involve, and to work towards the common goal of making all parties genuinely accountable to the people of the Maldives.   Atoll chiefs have a unique insight into the conditions of ordinary people on the islands and they are a valuable tool for the UN in helping poor people in this country. The advent of the Teacher Resource Centres – and new technology being installed by the UN on all atoll capitals such as video conferencing – will enable Atoll Chiefs to come together more frequently. This will allow them to network more often both with each other – and the UN.   The UN thanks the Atoll Chiefs for their full and frank discussion on issues of mutual concern to the UN, the Atoll Chiefs and the people whom they represent. The UN looks forward to continuing its fruitful relationship with the Ministry of Atolls Development, the Atoll Chiefs and their communities in order to achieve the common goals of recovery and prosperity for the people of the Maldives.

“The world must advance the causes of security, development and human rights together, otherwise none will succeed. Humanity will not enjoy security without development, it will not enjoy development without security and it will not enjoy either without respect for human rights,” Kofi Annan, General Secretary of the United Nations, 2005.

Notes to editors: For further enquiries, please contact Cathy Williams, Communication Coordinator, +(960) 779 5861 –  cathy.williams@undp.org

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