The year 2022 has been another exceptional year for the Maldives Foreign Service, and for the Maldives internationally, in working towards the realisation of the three pillars of the Maldives foreign policy – human rights, democracy and good governance and climate action. This year the Ministry of Foreign Affairs marked its 90th anniversary. The Maldives Foreign Service Act entered into effect on 14 May 2022, realising a long-held dream and aspiration of the Maldivian diplomatic service. This year we continued to raise the Maldivian flag high, reaching all corners of the world. We established diplomatic relations with more countries, totalling to 182 countries. We re-opened the Maldives Embassy in Washington. We welcomed Foreign Ministers of China, Hungary, India, and Türkiye. We joined the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States, and was granted dialogue partner status in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, opening new avenues to enhance our cooperation with the countries of those regions.
Working together with like minded countries, in the Human Rights Council, and the General Assembly, we were successful in declaring access to clean and healthy environment a universal human right.
In our work we prioritised gender equality and building an inclusive and considerate workplace. The Maldives successfully led the establishment of the International Day of Women in Diplomacy to be commemorated on 24 June. We also maintained a high representation of women in the executive committee of the Ministry and gender parity among our Ambassadors. The Ministry also established a family room, upholding its commitment to make a family-friendly, inclusive work environment. This year, the Maldives completed its Presidency of the United Nations General Assembly. My “Presidency of Hope” delivered just that – hope. The Presidency navigated through the agenda items of the seventy-sixth session of the General Assembly, while also convening the 11th Emergency Special Session on Ukraine, the resurgence and rebuilding after the COVID-19 pandemic, and also introducing new themes to the General Assembly such as tourism, and the interplay between the various environmental tracks. President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih addressed the General Debate in Dhivehi, while a Maldivian presided over the session – a unique honour. This year, the Foreign Service continued to work with other countries in enhancing investment, development assistance and easier travel. Since November 2018, our diplomats have facilitated up to $3.4 billion in grants, concessional loans, lines of credits and in kind assistance. We also signed more agreements on visa-free travel. Maldivians can now travel to 86 countries without needing a visa. The Maldives Foreign Service is now counting towards its centennial year – its 100th anniversary. And the Service remains committed to deliver for the people of the Maldives. In this coming year 2023, the Ministry will continue to work on realising our core foreign policy principles, enhancing our outreach, deepening our engagement, and making Maldivians proud. We will continue to engage with all countries, based on mutual respect and mutual benefit, paving the way for more assistance, investment, trade, and easier travel. We will continue to engage with international organisations, firm in our belief in multilateralism, with a view to achieve our national interests and enhance engagement. We are geared up to facilitate more visitors, and receive high level dignitaries. We anticipate the opening of diplomatic missions of the United States and Australia in the Maldives, further expanding our diplomatic corps. In the global arena, Maldives will once again assume membership of the Human Rights Council, including serving as the Council’s Vice President. Our priorities on the Council will be around our core foreign policy priorities – human rights, democracy and good governance, and climate action. It will contribute towards strengthening of national mechanisms and government institutions at all levels to mainstream and uphold human rights. The Maldives will also be campaigning for membership of the United Nations Economic and Social Council for the term 2027-2029, and a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council for the term 2033-2034, furthering our multilateral engagement. In 2023, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs remains committed to delivering its core mandate, under the guidance of our top diplomat President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. May this coming year be another successful year for our international engagement, and a prosperous year for our country.