Minister Shahid welcomes the return of the United States to the Paris Agreement and calls for enhanced multilateral cooperation to tackle climate change at the Interactive Virtual Dialogue held by the Forum of Small States

19 February 2021

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abdulla Shahid, today participated in the Interactive Virtual Dialogue held to commemorate the United States’ return to the Paris Agreement organized by the Forum of Small States (FOSS). The Dialogue, held under the theme “Return of the United States to the Paris Agreement: A catalyst to raise climate ambition and collective action?”, commemorated the United States returning to the Paris Agreement which took effect today.

Minister Shahid was among a distinguished set of panelists which included H.E. Ms. Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Mr. Todd Stern, Former Special Envoy of President Obama and former Chief Climate Negotiator for the United States, Mr. Selwin Hart, Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General on Climate Action and Assistant Secretary-General for the Climate Action Team, and Mr. Archie Young, the United Kingdom’s Lead Climate Negotiator, Cabinet Office. Each panelist delivered an intervention and then answered questions from the audience.

In his responses, Minister Shahid described the US returning into the Paris Agreement as a moment of hope for all Small Island Developing States (SIDS) which would reinvigorate the global shift to greener and more sustainable economies. He praised their recommitment to the 1.5-degree goal and net zero emissions by 2050.

Minister Shahid further called for commitments made under the Paris Agreement to be implemented without delay. He said that the Maldives pledged to reach net zero emissions by 2030, as announced by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih in December 2020. While acknowledging this is ambitious, he stated that the need for this was illustrated by science, pointing out that 2020 was one of the warmest years on record.

On the most important issues on the international climate agenda, Minster said that the COVID-19 pandemic has placed SIDS in an even more vulnerable situation than ever before and that SIDS are in need of adequate climate financing. He called for a new collective financing goal to be commenced at COP26 in Glasgow to enable a sustainable and green recovery from COVID-19.

In closing, Minister Shahid stated that multilateralism remains the best possible option to tackle the climate emergency. He said that under the able leadership of the United Kingdom as the incoming COP President, and the revived constructive spirit of the United States, a new spirit of multilateral cooperation can deliver ambitious outcomes at COP26.

The Forum of Small States (FOSS) is an informal grouping of small states established by Singapore in New York. The membership of FOSS is non-ideological and non-geographic. The Maldives has benefitted from being a member of FOSS as it provides a platform to discuss issues of concern for small states.