JOINT PRESS RELEASE
MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME IN THE MALDIVES
8 November 2020
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) today, presented the Government of Maldives with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for COVID-19 response, as part of its COVID-19 Integrated Response Support. The items handed over by Ms. Akiko Fujii, UNDP Resident Representative in the Maldives on behalf of UNDP, were received by His Excellency Abdulla Shahid, Minister of Foreign Affairs, on behalf of the Government of Maldives, in a symbolic ceremony held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The essential medical supplies presented to the Government include: 1080 hazmat suits, 10,080 N95 masks, 5000 surgical gowns, 6000 surgical masks, 400 goggles, 6000 head covers, 2000 face shields, 5000 shoe covers and 10,000 examination gloves. The PPE items will be used to support health workers on the frontline of the COVID-19 response, to safely and effectively continue their work while preventing further spread of the disease.
Speaking at the ceremony held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Minister Shahid thanked UNDP for its continued support to the Government of Maldives through its development trajectory, especially noting UNDP’s support in the areas of climate action, the consolidation of democracy and the eradication of poverty. Minister Shahid also highlighted the importance of effective partnerships in combating natural calamities such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition to the PPEs, one million non-surgical masks, acquired in partnership with the private sector, namely, Teochew International Federation, were also donated to the Government of Maldives in today’s ceremony. The masks will be utilised by local tourism workers employed in guesthouses, in a bid to facilitate the economic recovery process under the new normal – a recommendation made in the Rapid Livelihoods Assessment conducted by the Ministry of Economic Development with the support of UNDP this year. This assessment led to the designing and implementation of livelihoods and economic recovery programmes - providing immediate socio-economic relief to the most affected, in particular youth who lost jobs and women entrepreneurs.
During the ceremony, Ms. Akiko Fujii, UNDP Resident Representative commended the Government of Maldives on the measures being undertaken in response to the COVID-19 outbreak and for the leadership in recovering and building back better. “With this support, in addition to protecting health workers, the government and UNDP will effectively protect local tourism workers. As local tourism entities begin to re-open, PPEs will be critical in reducing transmission risks and minimizing the potential for the pandemic to escalate. It is important to ensure that those on the frontlines are protected, and that business continuity is supported in order to restore the country’s economy and people’s livelihoods - especially in the islands,” Ms. Fujii said.
Building on the Rapid Livelihoods Assessment, UNDP’s ongoing collaborations under the latest offer 2.0 in the theme of “Beyond Recovery: Towards 2030” have been adjusted to support the Maldives in the context of the new normal under COVID-19 recovery. It includes a special focus on the climate and environment promise, as well as governance, women’s empowerment, justice and social cohesion.
The Government of Maldives acknowledges the valuable role played by the United Nations Country Team amidst the COVID-19 pandemic to provide the necessary expertise, support and assistance required to overcome not only the health emergency but also for the long-term planning and recovery to build back better. The event today is a testimony to the power of partnerships to overcome the challenges faced by Small Island Developing States such as the Maldives.
The handover ceremony was attended by the UN Resident Coordinator, Heads of UN Agencies in the Maldives, and senior officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Tourism.
View remarks by UNDP Resident Representative Akiko Fujii at the PPEs handover ceremony here