President Mohamed Muizzu has urged world leaders to unite in addressing pressing issues in the Middle East and the challenges faced by Small Island Developing States (SIDS). He made the appeal at the first plenary session of the 4th International Conference on SIDS (SIDS4).

President Muizzu drew attention to the urgent situation in the Middle East, highlighting Israel’s defiance of the International Court of Justice’s order to cease its attack on the Palestinian people in Rafah. He implored the international community to stand together and demand an immediate end to the war, apartheid, and genocide, emphasising the need for Israeli leaders to be held accountable for their actions.

Citing the shared sense of vulnerability and the need for international support, President Muizzu expressed solidarity with the people of Palestine, echoing the sentiments of helplessness and the yearning for global empathy experienced by small island developing states.

Reflecting on the three-decade journey since the adoption of the first Programme of Action for SIDS, President Muizzu acknowledged the persistent challenges faced by SIDS, including poverty, the climate crisis, environmental degradation, rising external debt, injustice, and inequality. He underscored the erosion of faith and hope in global mechanisms, calling for a renewed belief in the ability of SIDS to navigate the perils of development and transform vulnerabilities into strengths.

President Muizzu outlined key areas where international community support could be instrumental. He stressed the necessity for credit enhancement measures, innovative financing solutions, and increased ambition in formulating Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and climate finance goals to combat the climate crisis.

Furthermore, he advocated for a synergistic approach among the UN system, global development institutions, and private sector financiers to bolster support for SIDS, stressing the need for integrated cooperation frameworks and agile, adaptable development agendas.

In conclusion, President Muizzu highlighted the imperative for SIDS to foster investment in state and productive capacities, leverage the private sector, strengthen institutions, enhance public service delivery, and demand representation in global decision-making bodies to ensure that their realities are accurately reflected.

On the sidelines of the conference, President Muizzu engaged in a high-level meeting with the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. During the discussion, President Muizzu reaffirmed his administration’s commitment to fortifying the robust relationship between the Maldives and the UN, according to a statement by the President’s Office.

The statement reads that Secretary-General Guterres lauded the Maldives for its active involvement in climate justice, emphasising the nation’s crucial role on the frontlines. He assured his unwavering support for the Maldives’ initiatives in this critical area.