President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on Wednesday declared that Maldives took it climate commitments seriously, while addressing the virtually held United Nations (UN) Biodiversity Summit.
Emphasising on the government's deep concern over plastic pollution, President Solih iterated his stance on completing the pledge to phase out single use plastics in Maldives by 2023.
He also highlighted Maldives' Climate Resilient Island Initiative proposed on the sidelines of the 74th UN General Assembly, that acts as a model for small island states to develop sustainably by "conserving eco-rich areas, phasing out single-use plastics, and rapidly transiting to renewable energy".
He shed light on Maldives’ ongoing partnership with the Blue Prosperity Coalition, a global alliance of ocean experts dedicated to growing blue economies and preserving the ocean’s health. Maldives has been working with the coalition to conduct scientific expeditions that will inform the country's blue economic policies and maritime spatial plans going forward, such that development occurs without compromising the island nation's natural assets.
Overall, President Solih touched upon human influenced climate change, stressing that humanity must either choose to harness available scientific knowledge and technological prowess for destructive ends, yielding short term profit, or implement sustainable development strategies viable for the long term.
However, it is of note that despite continued appearances in the international fora over climate change, the government continues to reclaim land and lagoon areas for development purposes and invest in vast 'concrete' mega development projects 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.