President 76th Session of UN General Assembly a keynote speaker at SIDS Solutions Forum

The President of the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly, Abdulla Shahid, has been confirmed as one of the keynote speakers during the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Solutions Forum on 30 – 31 August 2021.

Mr. Shahid is amongst a host of high-level delegates to feature in the opening session. Notable are the Prime Minister of Fiji, Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama, who will speak as the meeting’s co-host, the Administrator of UNDP, Achim Steiner; Chair of AOSIS, Dr. Walton Webson; Secretary General of ITU, Houlin Zhao and QU Dongyu, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

The Forum convened virtually by FAO and Fiji, in partnership with the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), is the first of its type. It creates a space for the high-level officials and participants to discuss, share, promote and encourage home-grown digital innovations and imported solutions in the agriculture, food and nutrition sectors to respond to the challenges posed by COVID-19.

The ultimate goal is to accelerate the achievement of the agriculture; food and nutrition related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the S.A.M.O.A Pathway priorities in SIDS. 

Mr. Shahid, who is also the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Maldives, was elected President of the 76th session of the General Assembly in New York in June this year from the Asia-Pacific States group. Mr. Shahid is well aware about the challenges faced by SIDS, which are now compounded by COVID-19.

 “While the pandemic has threatened to reverse decades of development gains and impeded the decade of action for the [SDGs], it has also given us a unique opportunity to reset the clock – to build back better, build back stronger and build back greener and bluer,” he said in his vision statement.

“Climate change is the greatest challenge of our time: across-cutting and all-encompassing game changer and threat multiplier.

Mr. Shahid began his professional career as a Foreign Service officer in 1983 and rose through the ranks rapidly.  In 2005, Mr. Shahid was appointed Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and, in 2007, Minister for Foreign Affairs for the first time. His illustrious parliamentary career spanned 25 years, during which time he participated in, and oversaw, major legislative progress and reform. He was a Member of Parliament for five consecutive terms, from 1994 to 2018.

Mr. Shahid holds a master’s degree in International Relations from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and completed his undergraduate degree in Political Science and Government at the University of Canberra. He is an accomplished poet and has a keen interest in astronomy. A sportsman from a young age, he enjoys badminton, cricket and football. Born in Malé in May 1962, Mr. Shahid is married to Aishath Suiza. They have a daughter and two sons.