Foreign Minister Shahid holds a telephone conversation with the UNDP Administrator

15 April 2020

During the phone conversation, Minister Shahid briefed the Administrator on the stringent measures that the Maldives has undertaken to control and contain the spread of the virus, as well as the challenges that we face today in addressing the health emergency and the strain on public finances.

The Minister took the example of the COVID-19 crisis to remind the international community, the vulnerability of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), such as the Maldives, to external economic shocks.In this regard, the Minister highlighted the Maldives’ high dependency on the tourism industry for sustaining the economy, noting that while the entire revenue of the Government is currently directed to the health emergency, the tourism industry is entirely shut down, which is causing severe negative impacts on the economy.

Minister Shahid emphasized that the early steps taken by the Maldives to combat the virus had made a difference in keeping the number of positives cases low, and the number of deaths at zero. With the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the capital Malé today the likelihood of a “community spread of the virus” in the country remains imminent. The Minister therefore emphasized on the critical importance of the international community providing support to the Maldives to save lives and to minimize the economic and social impact of COVID-19.

Minister Shahid welcomed the initiative by UNDP to assist countries overcome the unprecedented socio-economic challenges due to the pandemic, and informed the Administrator that the Maldives will be soon submitting proposals to access resources under “UNDP’s COVID-19 Integrated Response Offer” which will focus on both the immediate requirements of the health emergency, as well as long-term economic recovery.Minister Shahid thanked the UNDP for its continued support to the Maldives over the years and commended the extraordinary measures being undertaken by the UN globally.