Statement by His Excellency Dr. Hussain Niyaaz, Secretary, Economic and Development Cooperation Agenda Item 2 General Debate, 80th Session of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

At the outset, my delegation expresses our sincere appreciation to UNESCAP for the comprehensive study prepared for the consideration of the 80th Session of the Commission. We recognize the transformative role of digital innovations in linking technology with social, economic and environmental outcomes and its crucial role in the implementation of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

Mr./Madam Chair,

The Maldives is committed to leveraging digital innovations to empower individuals, improve access to essential services, and drive inclusive economic growth. Under the leadership of President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu, the Government of Maldives has adopted an ambitious development agenda that stems from innovation, sustainability and inclusivity.

In line with this agenda, the Government of Maldives has announced the ongoing efforts to establish smart and resilient urban centers throughout the Maldives. These centers will reduce the existing dependency on the capital city of Malé, thereby fostering sustainability and enhancing climate resilience.

Another notable initiative by the Government of Maldives is the “Ras Malé Eco-City project” which envisions urban development with sustainable standards and digital innovation. Complementing through renewable energy infrastructure, smart grid systems, green technology research and smart home technologies.

Mr./Madam Chair,

Despite the challenges of being a small island nation, the Maldives has embraced innovative governance through technology to elevate public service delivery and transparency. The recent launch of automated air cargo clearance by the Maldives Customs Services exemplifies a shift towards efficient trade facilitation, minimizing paperwork and errors while enhancing security measures. The Government has also prioritized the promotion of paperless e-government platforms and the utilization of artificial intelligence across various services to improve efficiency and service delivery.

Similarly, the Government’s initiative to introduce e-wallet services aims to modernize financial services and enhance business operations, reflecting the Government’s commitment to technological advancement and its vision to drive productivity and create investment friendly environments.

In the same vein, the introduction of the 'Rayyithunge Adu' portal by President Dr. Muizzu underscores the commitment to citizen engagement and transparent governance by the Government. This platform enables direct communication between citizens and the President, promoting accountability and participation in the democratic process.

Mr./Madam Chair,

As an island nation, the Maldives recognizes the pivotal role of digital innovation in advancing environmental sustainability. The Government has announced its plans to increase the renewable energy share that meets thirty-three percent of the country’s electricity demand within the next five years.

Mr./Madam Chair,

As we navigate the complexities of digital transformation, the Maldives remains committed to upholding digital rights, privacy, and cyber security principles. The establishment of the National Cyber Security Agency under the Ministry of Homeland Security and Technology demonstrates the Government’s unwavering commitment to safeguarding national cybersecurity.

Mr./Madam Chair,

The digital revolution presents an unparalleled opportunity to shape a more equitable, inclusive and sustainable future for all. Realizing this vision requires collaborative effort, knowledge sharing and partnerships. As we embark on this journey together, let us harness the transformative power of digital innovation to build a brighter tomorrow for generations to come and to ensure that we leave no one behind.

I thank you.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Fathulla Jameel Building, Malé, 20077, Republic of Maldives, | Tel Number: 00960 332-3400  |  Emergency Contact: 00960 798-3400