25 October 2019 NAM Summit

 “Upholding the Bandung Principles to ensure concerted and adequate response to the challenges of contemporary world” Madam Chair, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen Assalam Alaikum Warahmathullahi Wabarakaathuh,

  1. Let me begin by conveying to you Excellencies, warm greetings from my President His Excellency Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. I feel deeply honoured to address this important NAM Conference today, on behalf of President Solih amidst the distinguished Heads of States. Let me also take this moment to extend my sincere thanks to His Excellency President Ilham Aliyev, for the warm welcome and gracious hospitality offered to my delegation and I in this historic city of Baku. We appreciate the excellent arrangements made by the Government of Azerbaijan to host this important conference.
  2. It is also my pleasure to congratulate Azerbaijan, our new Chair for successfully steering our collaborative work within the family of the Non-Aligned Movement. I convey my gratitude to the outgoing Chair, Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro for the excellent manner in which they have guided our deliberations. Madam Chair,
  3. In a world of endless variables, the only constant is change. Changing power structures, changing relationships and changing geopolitics, define our age of globalization. Unlike the preceding centuries in which the gravest conventional security threats were clear and well-known, in the 21st century, this is no longer the case. We need to adjust to the present realities of the world, and adapt to the non-traditional threats to international peace and security such as climate change, the build-up of cyber warfare and terrorism.
  4. In November last year, the people of the Maldives elected a new Government. President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih was elected on a platform of change, in upholding human rights and the rule of law, in promoting the principles of democracy and rooting out corruption, and in moving ahead with an ambitious agenda of judicial reform and sustainable development for all. Today, I am proud to state that the Government of Maldives after a long period of absence, is pursuing a policy of re-engagement with the international community, to reclaim our place in the global arena, and to contribute constructively in finding solutions to the common challenges we face.
  5. One of the most precarious challenges facing the Maldives and other Small Island Developing States is, the threats posed by climate change. Global warming has a cascading effect on us, whereby the increasing temperatures and rising sea levels continue to threaten our very own existence. Nations are diverting the already dwindling fresh water resources to cater for their own populations at the expense of others. Food scarcity and inflation in food prices is already a reality, especially in densely populated developing countries. These austere challenges do not only adversely affect the environment, but also have far reaching other consequences.
  6. It is therefore with utmost urgency, that Maldives calls upon the nations of the world to come together to address the biggest challenge of our time – climate change. Once the tipping point is reached, nature’s catastrophic and irreversible consequences will know neither states, nor boundaries.
  7. As of last year, almost two-thirds of new internal displacements across the world has been reported as those resulting from disasters. Cross border disaster displacement due to environmental factors is increasing. Migration sets forth a whole new dimension of challenges including stressors on the economic and political stability of host countries. Migration due to slow onset disasters, especially climate change is happening. The World Bank had estimated 200 million climate refugees by the end of 2050. But for us in the developing world especially, time is running out to tackle climate change. It is therefore with utmost urgency, that the Maldives calls upon the nations of the world to come together to address the biggest challenge of our time – climate change. Once the tipping point is reached, nature’s catastrophic and irreversible consequences will know neither states, nor boundaries. This is fatal for one and all! Madam Chair,
  8. When the United Nations was formed in the aftermath of the Second World War, it was primarily designed for sovereign nations-states. However, modern conflicts are no longer restricted to only wars between the military forces of states. The rise of organized crime networks and terrorist groups in the 21st century has led to a scenario where non-state actors pose a grave threat to our respective countries’ national security interests. Because these networks are non-state actors, by default, they do not conform to international laws, and the norms and principles that define the use of force.
  9. Non-state actors are neither limited by territorial boundaries, nor do they recognize the concept of sovereignty. As a result, these networks flout the sovereignty of not one, but multiple states in the process, thereby, extending their web of influence across boundaries and threatening the national security of all states.
  10. Combating terrorism has become such a challenge, that our minds are now plagued with the question: “Can terrorism ever be completely annihilated?” The answer to that question is a complex one. In the years preceding, billions have been spent on combating this threat, without any serious headway in comprehensively addressing its root causes, or the radical ideologies that fuels it, may it be from populism, nationalism or religious extremism. This has weakened the individual state’s resolve to tackle this global threat to peace and security. There is no easy solution to this complex problem, nor can it be kicked down the road to deal with at a later stage.
  11. We fully understand the environment in which terrorism thrives, its root causes are well documented. What is required is for the international community, to collectively have the political will to address this issue. Madam Chair,
  12. Nearly seven decades on, our Palestinian brothers and sisters are still struggling for independence. How much longer are we going to sit back and watch the Palestinians endure this spectacle of malevolent injustice? Israel is pursuing an unacceptable aggressive settlement regime, eating away at Palestinian territory and torpedoing the chances of success for a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders.
  13. It is therefore, without question, that the Maldives fully supports and welcomes the Political Declaration of Nonaligned Movement on Palestine. We need to rise and act for our brothers and sisters, before they fall deeper into the abyss. We will continue this call, until every Palestinian can live and lead a civilized life – with peace, and dignity. Madam Chair,
  14. The world has undergone seismic shifts since the establishment of the Non-Aligned Movement, the demands on governments have changed; the nature of the global issues have changed; and so, has the role of international movements like ours. The biggest challenge today for any organization, including the Non-Aligned Movement is not maintain its effectiveness and for that, we need to adapt our modus operandi to become responsive to contemporary challenges. It is only we, the Member States of NAM, that can bring relevance to our activities. We decide to uphold the Bandung Principles. We decide to ensure our responses are concerted and adequate. And it is we, who decide what our future should be. It is my sincere hope, that under your new Chairmanship, the work of Non-Aligned-Movement is revitalized and that we remain steadfast in pursuit of a world that respects the rule of law, sovereignty, territorial integrity, equality and justice. We must draw strength from among ourselves, and be resolute in attaining a future that will address the challenges of our times. I thank you Madam.