Minister Shahid calls for working within the multilateral trading system towards sustainable and climate-resilient development at the WTO High-Level Panel Discussion on Trade, Environment and Sustainability

29 March 2021

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abdulla Shahid, today delivered a keynote address at a World Trade Organization Virtual High-Level Panel Discussion on Trade, the Environment and Sustainability. The Meeting, held under the theme “A Focus on Green Recovery in a COVID-19 Era”, was co-hosted by the Permanent Missions of Maldives and Barbados to the United Nations Office in Geneva.

In his address, Minister Shahid brought attention to the vulnerabilities of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to environmental, economic and pandemic shocks. He outlined some of the policies undertaken by the Government of Maldives to mitigate the impact of the disruption of global supply chains, including amendments to relevant regulations to improve food security and ensuring the uninterrupted supply of essential food items. He also called for mechanisms which enhances debt relief for countries disproportionately affected by the pandemic, which is essential for a sustainable recovery.

Minister Shahid further shed light on the mutually reinforcing link between trade and environmental protection, and its role in ensuring sustainable development. He said that SIDS are not adequately equipped to face natural disasters, and depend on a clean, healthy and sustainable environment for income and employment.

Finally, he called the post-pandemic recovery and re-building phase as an opportunity to shift the development paradigm and focus on trade and investment policies for sustainable and climate-resilient development. Minister Shahid called for unity and cooperation to build economic resilience to build back better and greener in achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

During the meeting, the new Director-General of the World Trade Organization, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Deputy Secretary_General of the United Nations, Ms. Amina J. Mohammed, and Executive Director of the International Trade Centre, Ms. Pamela Coke-Hamilton delivered interventions.