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COP26 CVF Leaders’ Dialogue Statement by H.E. Mohamed Nasheed, former President of the Maldives, Speaker of the People’s Majlis and CVF Thematic Ambassador on Ambition

Climate Vulnerable Forum Leaders Dialogue COP26

4:15 – 6:15 pm 2 November 2021 – UNFCCC COP26, Glasgow, Scotland

Intervention by H.E. Mohamed Nasheed

Former President of the Maldives, Speaker of the People’s Majlis and CVF Thematic Ambassador on Ambition

The CVF chair, Prime Minister Ms. Sheikh Hasina, ladies and gentlemen, 

It is a pleasure to be here. This is a very long journey. I know that this is the 26th COP and we are still talking while the planet is burning. Restarted the CVFin 2009, with 11 countries, Bangladesh, Barbados, Bhutan, Ghana, Kenya Naipaul Rwanda, Tanzania, Vietnam, and the Maldives. Prime Minister Hasina was in the forefront of it when we started our forum. The idea was that countries that are extremely vulnerable must stand in solidarity and deliver in conferences their consolidated, agreed, singular view. Prime Minister Hasina has been the Chair before and again last year took the presidency. When she did that, she asked me and some of the other ambassadors to assist her in trying to come to the COP and make this conference a success. That was exactly what she told me. 

She has had during the last, over two years, unrelentingly, rich commitment and focus. And I believe her leadership in the CVF will finally let us raise our heads above the water. We come here after a number of discussions with that leadership, first to regional dialogues. The CVF is now in 48 countries and during the dark days of the pandemic, we spent our time having conversations on what we will do when they come to the COP. I am pleased to say Prime Minister we are the only group who have actually come to this conference after over two years of conversations. The regional dialogues gave us views, concepts, and ideas. These views and concepts and ideas were then taken to Dhaka and consolidated to form the Dhaka-Glasgow code, the emergency pact. 

What we are asking is very clear, more than that. What is now very clear is that we are a group that will stand shoulder to shoulder and fight for each other. We will stand together and rebuild, refusing to give up. We must make sure that 1.5 degrees is doable, that the temperature does not increase about 1.5 degrees. They live now on a planet of 1.2 degrees, and the bad weather is obvious, it is obvious for all of us to see. There is drought everywhere, there are floods everywhere, the Tundra is burning, there is havoc and disaster for us to see every day, I am afraid this is going to get worse and it is going to get worse and worse and worse. It is extremely naive for political leaders to say that they want to save people’s jobs and that is why they want to run a fossil fuel industry. It is the height of naivety. You will not save these jobs. You will be drowned with all of us. It is not just the climate vulnerable countries; everyone now is vulnerable. It is not just the nations. We are not talking about little countries, little islands in the middle of the Indian ocean, and it is not only about us, it is about everyone. 

But I am hopeful that this conference will keep the 1.5 degrees attainable and doable. The NDCs, the submission of that every year instead of five years, and we would like countries to have more ambition year after year. When they do the sums it will add up. We will be able to then see where we stand. Of course we need the money but it is not just the money. We need adaptation measures to save ourselves, to keep us alive, and we don’t have that money. We pay more than 30%, all of the CVF countries pay more than 30% of their budget for adaptation and then another 20% on debt repayment. We took the loans to build a bridge, to build the house, to pay the hospital. But the bad weather has drowned the house, the bad weather has drowned the road, the bridge, the assets that we created through the loan are now stranded. How then can be paid back. 

If that is a normal day, you certainly cannot expect the Maldives to pay back its loan. The CVF is asking for that restructuring and a hundred billion. I was there in 2009 in Copenhagen when rich countries said that they will pay the money. Again, they are saying that they will plan the delivery of a hundred million. It has to be now. We know that when even money is pledged for us to realize as projects, it takes a good five years, but I am really hopeful, we cannot give up and we will never relent. 

Thank you Prime Minister.