The President's Office of the Republic of Maldives

11/01/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 11/01/2021 12:28

Remarks by His Excellency Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, President of the Republic of Maldives at the 26th Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP26) to the United Nations[...]

بســم اللّـه الرّحمـن الرّحيــم

Madam President,

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen.

As a leader of a small island state, I have stepped up to many fora to say the exact same things I am about to say now.

But because of the gravity of the situation, because our existence is at stake, I have no choice but to keep on repeating it.

What will it take for you to listen to us?

The Maldives is often cited as one of those low-lying countries that could disappear off the map because of the climate crisis.

I am here to tell you that my people are already living the steady onset of this reality.

Just this past month, I was travelling within the Maldives. Of the six islands I visited, all of them were experiencing severe erosion. This is just one example of how our people are having to live with the harsh realities of climate change. Our islands are slowly being inundated by the sea, one by one.

If we do not reverse this trend, the Maldives will cease to exist by the end of this century.

The science tells us many things. It tells us we are facing a "code red" scenario where global mean temperature is presently at 1.1 degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels, and is rising at frightening pace towards the 1.5 degree ceiling.

Wildfires, harsher droughts and storm surges ravage communities around the world with greater intensity and frequency because of climate change.

Based on the science we know that our capacity to protect the health, well-being and safety of our people and our planet is being driven to the brink.

Ladies and Gentlemen.

As I have said before, if the rise in temperature remains unchecked at 1.5 and jumps to 2 degrees; that is a death sentence to the Maldives.

In a world where we cease to exist, our fate would remain a dark omen of the grim future that awaits the rest of the world. My people are determined not to let this transpire.

We are determined to be part of global solutions to reverse these trends, to change the status quo.

We are determined to lead by example by taking the most ambitious climate actions and committing to achieve a low-emission development and a climate-resilient future.

The climate emergency cannot be solved by the actions of individual nations alone.

Major emitters must step up their nationally determined contributions and make even more ambitious commitments to achieving Net Zero. Countries must band together and assist the most climate-vulnerable states to adapt to climate change.

Commitments alone are not enough.

At Paris, this assembly reaffirmed its previous pledge to provide one hundred billion U.S. dollars annually to developing vulnerable states. I am disappointed that we are nowhere near to realizing this.

Even when a project gets greenlit for financing under these commitments, we are mired in red tape, and a myriad of reports, studies and other assorted paperwork that render ineffective these projects meant to address the urgency imparted on our communities by climate change.

We need to agree on stringent accountability measures to ensure that all commitments on climate finance are met if vulnerable states are to stand a chance.

We have all decided to come to Glasgow, despite the pandemic, with a common purpose.

We all know that this might in fact be the last chance we have to get ahead of climate change.

Please, please do not let this opportunity go to waste.

I thank you.