Minister of Environment Dr Hussain Rasheed Hassan, on Friday, expressed concern over the detrimental impacts of climate change on the island nation should Maldives lack the necessary funds to tackle it.
Speaking at the virtual high-level Ministers' Meeting held on the margins of the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly, the minister emphasized on the variety of challenges faced by the country.
He noted that low-lying island nations are at the forefront of the negative impacts of climate change such as sea level rising and coral bleaching as a result of rising ocean surface temperatures.
"We need the cooperation of every country to ensure that Earth's temperatures do not rise above 1.5 degrees as stated in the Paris Agreement", said the minister.
The meeting was convened by the Commonwealth Secretariat and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), in order to provide an opportunity for member nations to explore avenues in achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, as well as reaching a land-degradation neutral world in the near future.
Despite the parliament-declared climate emergency in February, the government continues to reclaim land and lagoon areas for development purposes, often in contrast with the ruling party's own electoral pledges.
Additionally, key pieces of protective legislation, including laws banning the procurement of coconut palms from local islands or the government's pledge to establish the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as an independent authority, remain yet to be passed or even put into motion.
The aforementioned shortcomings exist in contrast to Maldives' stance in the international arena, including advocacy at the COP summits and the country's call to criminalise ecocide at the International Criminal Court (ICC).