UNDP Maldives for COP28: Advocating for Climate Justice and Sustainable Finance

December 24, 2023

Following the conclusion of UN Climate Change Conference COP28, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in the Maldives reflects on its engagement in multiple initiatives aimed at addressing the pressing challenges faced by Small Island Developing States (SIDS) like the Maldives, including the multifaceted efforts undertaken to safeguard state financing resilience, advocate for climate justice, and promote sustainable development.

1) Balancing Public Spending with Revenue: Safeguarding State Financing Resilience

The delicate task of balancing public spending with revenue remains a critical challenge for countries like the Maldives. Exacerbated by the impacts of climate change and associated adaptation costs, Enrico Gaveglia, UNDP Resident Representative in the Maldives, in an opinion editorial, outlined initiatives to assist the Maldives in navigating this high-stakes challenge. The article, published ahead of COP28, delves into the strategies employed by UNDP in the Maldives to address this complex issue and build resilience in state financing.

2) Climate Justice and Finance Advocacy at Sustainable Future Forum 2023, in Milan, Italy

Enrico Gaveglia, invited by Silvia Berzoni of Class CNBC and Milano Finanza, articulated the case for climate justice and climate finance at the Sustainable Future Forum 2023. Emphasizing the Maldives' quest for climate justice, the discussion included topics such as Loss and Damage and SDG Finance, aligning with the broader theme of advancing Sustainable Development Goals. This advocacy on the road to COP28 showcased the commitment to addressing the unique challenges faced by SIDS.

3) Report on Loss and Damage and Climate Litigation, a SIDS Perspective, with Frankfurt School

Coinciding with the landmark agreement at COP28 to operationalize the Loss and Damage Fund, UNDP Maldives released a new report advocating for enhanced funding for SIDS towards climate justice. The report presented a compelling case for utilizing both traditional and novel financing mechanisms to address the climate challenges faced by SIDS, emphasizing the need for equitable support in the face of climate-related risks.

4) Nature Conservation and Blue Economy Development in Maldives

UNDP recognized significant opportunities in Maldives for nature conservation and blue economy development. Enrico Gaveglia discussed the importance of striking the right balance between development and protection of Maldives' natural assets in an interview with Radhika Bajaj of China Global Television Network (CGTN). This perspective aligned with the Maldives' commitment to SDGs and conservation efforts.

5) Community Participation for Climate Action in Fuvahmulah

UNDP Accelerator Labs in Maldives organized collective intelligence sessions in Fuvahmulah Island, engaging citizens to generate data for disaster risk management and climate change adaptation. This community-driven initiative underscored the importance of local participation in climate action and resilience-building.

6) 'Credit Ratings and Climate Chaos' – Advocating for Reform

Overseas Development Institute (ODI)’s Emily Wilkinson and UNDP's Kanni Wignaraja argued for the reform of credit agencies' approaches in the face of climate chaos, in a joint opinion editorial featured in Project Syndicate. The article addressed the challenges faced by island nations, including the Maldives, in managing debt exacerbated by climate crises and the need for a more equitable approach.

7) Small Islands, Big Picture Podcast on Debt Sustainability in SIDS

In the episode of the 'Small Islands, Big Picture' podcast by ODI, Enrico Gaveglia joined a conversation to discuss the challenges faced by the Maldives in managing its debt, the effectiveness of debt relief and restructuring initiatives, and broader lessons for SIDS on engaging with international financial institutions. The podcast shed light on the intersections of debt sustainability, climate change, and international finance.

As COP28 concludes, UNDP Maldives' active participation in these initiatives collectively underscores the commitment to advancing climate justice, sustainable development, and resilience for Small Island Developing States.