05 June 2015, Male: “2015 will be a year to reckon with - either as the year the global community started its journey on the path of sustainable development, or the year a tremendous opportunity to effect change was lost”, says Her Excellency Ms Dunya Maumoon, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Maldives, speaking on the occasion of the World Environment Day this year.

The theme “Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care”, for the year centers on resource efficiency and sustainable consumption in the context of sustainable development and climate change,. The theme brings the focus on human welfare and the hopes and aspirations of 7 billion people through the lens of what is needed to fulfill human destiny, but also the limits to those aspirations. She stressed that the problem is not just that our consumption patterns are not only unsustainable, but that of increasing inequality as well.

Reflecting on the multilateral frameworks being finalized in the areas of climate change, post 2015 development agenda, and financing for development, the Minister said that “it gives us a huge opportunity to ensure that we do not fail humanity, leaving no one behind on our path to sustainable development and keep our planet at the center of our objectives”. 

The Minister said that climate change remains one of the biggest developmental challenges in Maldives. Rising ocean levels, coastal erosion, ocean acidification, extreme weather events and variable precipitation patterns not only threaten their very existence but also grossly affects the livelihoods and economies of small island nations. The Minister reiterated that although it is countries least responsible for climate change that are the most vulnerable to it, Maldives continues to take a proactive approach in building resiliency to the adverse impacts of climate change through pursuing a low carbon development strategy. Minister Dunya further urged all stakeholders to pursue the Sustainable Development Goals identified in the ambitious post 2015 development agenda, in particular targets relating to the management and sustainable use of oceans and seas, climate change, investing in sustainable energy and water.

Minister Dunya stressed that, resources that are critical for human well being, but even for human survival are being threatened due to overexploitation - from food to water to energy. “Human development need not be at the cost of the environment. We have now witnessed that overexploitation of natural resources has not brought prosperity to all humankind. Lets take this opportunity to change the discourse on what constitutes development and the means to implement it. Lets start doing more with less, efficiently, equitably and in consideration of people and the planet”.