President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on Thursday announced Maldives’ partnership with Parley for the Oceans, the global environmental organisation dedicated to combating marine plastic pollution.
Speaking at a function held in Cooper Hewitt Museum in New York to mark the new partnership, President Solih noted the adverse effects of marine plastic pollution, and that protecting the ocean is linked to the survival of Maldives.
“Ocean pollution not only threatens to compromise the two major industries that form the bedrock of the Maldives’ economy, tourism and fisheries, but threatens to decimate the coral reefs that form our very islands", he said.
"To us, this is an existential crisis".
In his remarks, the president reiterated Maldives' ambitious plan to phase out single-use plastics by 2030, which he announced in his maiden address at the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.
"We have thus far undertaken several measures intended to reduce and ultimately eliminate single-use plastic in the workplace and in consumer lifestyles. Our aim is for the Maldives to become plastic-free by the year 2023".
He called on businesses to discard plastic packaging and opt for environment-friendly materials, further urging the international community to do their due diligence in regulating businesses to reduce plastic products output.
The president went on to underscore Maldives’ pursuit to position itself as a global “champion of change", assuring that the island nation will strive to set an example and take initiative.
“Realistically, however, our sole efforts will not suffice. The scale of the problem is too large. The spread of plastic waste in our ocean is a borderless issue that demands a concerted global effort in response".
President Solih further hailed Parley for the Oceans as an organisation that truly understood how ocean health was entwined with human security. He praised Parley’s local branch, Parley Maldives' efforts to raise awareness on the fragility of the ocean.
According to the President's Office, as per the agreement with Parley, Maldives will support the implementation of the Parley AIR Strategy, which entails avoiding plastic where possible through education, communication and alternative solutions to single-use plastic. The strategy also comprises interception of plastic waste and channelling it to reuse, reducing the production of virgin plastic, and creating alternative and new solutions with new material technologies and new product design.
The government of Maldives also entered into partnership with Blue Prosperity Coalition during President Solih's ongoing visit to New York. The coalition is a global network working towards ocean protection and Blue Economies, and under the new agreement, will devise a six-year programme with the Maldivian government to ensure the sustainability of Maldivian waters and marine environment.