22 September 2014, New York; "A nation's most precious resource is its human resource, it's citizens - we remain committed to our people, and to the full realization of their potential" said Minister of Foreign Affairs Dunya Maumoon.Addressing the 29th Special Session on the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development, Minister Dunya pledged to fully commit to the further implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action: Beyond 2014.

Today's special session marked twenty years to the adoption of the historic 20-year Program of Action at the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo. At the Conference, Maldives along with 178 countries recognized gender equality, eradication of violence against women and access to sexual and reproductive health services as cornerstones for population and development policies.

‘In the 1980's, Maldives ranked among the world's 20 poorest countries.Now, it is a middle-income country, the third country to graduate from the UN List of Least Developed Countries, with a GDP per capita of over USD 6000 in 2013', said the Minister, highlightighing the successes in the Maldives' development story.

Minister Dunya noted that despite the achievements, many challenges remained. She noted equal income distribution and women's empowerment as emerging and persistent challenges. The Minister also noted that catering to the youth of the nation is a major policy priority of the Government and said that with the aim to limit drug use and crimes, Government has already embarked projects such as building a "Youth City", which is set to become a major hub for employment and innovation.

During the statement, Minister Dunya further noted that the Maldives has a track record of formulating policies based on statistical evidence, and gave information that during the week, a new national census was launched country-wide, despite a lapse of eight years since the last census was held in 2006.

The Special Session was held during the 69th Session of the United Nations General Assembly at the United Nations headquarters in New York.