‘Future Of Maldives Depends On COP28 Success’

Shahid expressed his hopes for the role of Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, COP28 President-designate, in making the upcoming COP a successful endeavour…reports Asian lite News

The future of the Maldives and its people depends on the success of COP28, the UN Climate Conference to be held in Dubai in November, the country’s top diplomat said.

Abdulla Shahid, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Maldives, stressed that “For countries such as the Maldives, climate change is an existential issue, a threat beyond unimaginable proportions.”

In an email interview with WAM from Maldivian capital Malé, he added, “We are confident that the UAE’s presidency of COP28 will deliver the results that we need. The UAE has shown excellent leadership.”

Shahid expressed his hopes for the role of Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, COP28 President-designate, in making the upcoming COP a successful endeavour. “The Presidency has a pivotal role in reaching consensus, and moving forward the negotiations towards meaningful and impactful decisions that will ensure the survival of our people, our culture, our heritage, and our history,” the foreign minister explained.

Detailing the existential threat his island nation in the Indian ocean is facing, Shahid said, “We are not alone in this predicament. We are on the frontline. The effects of climate change that we are experiencing today, such as the frequent and extreme sea surges, the devastating storms, the rising sea level, the erosion of our pristine beaches, the coral bleaching, and many more, are tragedies that the rest of the world will also face if we do not act today.”

The minister underscored that the science on this issue is very clear. “The window for action is rapidly closing; we must act.”

Detailing his country’s priorities at COP28, the top diplomat said operationalising the loss and damage financing facility is the first one. Completing the Glasgow-Sharm El-Sheikh work programme on adaptation, and finalising the work on the Global Goal on Adaptation are other priorities.

“The operationalisation of the loss and damage financing facility is critical for small island developing states such as the Maldives as we are experiencing loss and damage due to climate change even today,” Shahid said.

Loss and damage fund

This August, Male’ experienced extreme tidal surges with waves crashing over the sea walls, causing injury, damaging property, and affecting infrastructure, he noted. Islands across the country are facing this type of swells, along with unpredictable weather patterns more frequently than ever before.

Acknowledging the critical need for this fund, the Maldives became one of the members of the Transitional Committee on the operationalisation of the Loss and Damage funding arrangements, with other fellow Small Island Developing States, alongside the UAE. “Therefore, we look forward to the fast operationalisation of the loss and damage financing facility at the earliest,” the minister stressed.

Hopes on Global Stocktake

The Maldives will also be calling for more concrete and ambitious action following the first Global Stocktake at COP28. “We need to enhance our ambition post 2025, to ensure that we achieve a collective reduction of emissions in line with 1.5C in 2030 and in 2035, with enhanced accountability measures across the stakeholders. To achieve the 1.5C target we need to accelerate just and equitable transition to renewable sources of energy and away from fossil fuels,” Shahid asserted.

For the world to adapt to the effects of climate change efficiently and in due time, he pointed out, “We must complete the work of the Glasgow-Sharm El Sheikh Work Programme on adaptation and finalise the global goal on adaptation. This work is crucial to measure the success of the work being done under the adaptation workstream and to get an accurate picture of the work that remains. Without such a framework to guide us, we will not be able to achieve the outcome that we all want.”

The Maldives and the UAE have worked closely on the issue of climate change at various multilateral fora for several years, the Maldivian top diplomat said.

“The priority areas for our two countries broadly align, fostering close collaboration between the Maldives and the UAE. Especially on the issue of adaptation, I believe the Maldives and the UAE can work together, to achieve a positive outcome, to identify landing grounds, and keep the negotiations moving forward towards a consensus.”

In the realm of trade, investment, and economic cooperation, the minister said, the UAE’s diversified economy serves as an example.

“We are eager to learn from the UAE’s success and are actively pursuing sustainable economic development through the expansion of trade and investment opportunities. Our collaborative efforts extend to the flourishing fisheries industry, where both our nations possess unique marine resources that offer tremendous growth potential.” (By Binsal Abdulkader)

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