President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on Thursday revealed that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would be made into an independent institution in the near future.
The President spoke at the ceremony held to commemorate Maldives' environmental preservation efforts at the open halls of the National Art Gallery where he and incumbent Minister of Environment Dr Hussain Rasheed Hussain met and took statements from past Environment Ministers.
The hall was decorated with portraits of significant moments of Maldives' environmental efforts throughout history.
President Solih affirmed that the highest priority of his administration would be to preserve the environment, highlighting the importance of passing on the pristine natural conditions to future generations as was received. He said that this was the very reason that a Ministry solely dedicated to the Environment was established, noting that it was a first for any administration in Maldives historically.
He further said that turning EPA into an independent institution was one of the administrative decisions taken in accordance with preservation efforts. He divulged further that EPA would be given authority and made independent very soon.
"All policies that must be compiled to make EPA independent will be compiled and it will be done."
EPA is currently under the authority of the Environment Ministry. Many have lodged complaints against the EPA due to allegations that the agency failed to act in preventing several of former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom's projects that took a toll on the environment.
President Solih further revealed that the 'green tax' taken from tourists to fund environmental conscious efforts were being used for other purposes. He asserted that the green tax will be used solely for its intended purpose under this administration.
He spoke about the dichotomy between environmental preservation and development that Maldives faces due its status as a developing country, stating there would be challenges. He then called on the gathered ex-Ministers and to act as expert ambassadors and advice the administration in the path forward.