About Maldives

Environment

The Maldives is highly dependent on its natural environment – from the economy to social well-being and indeed the entire way of life, is inherently dependent on the environment.

The islands are protected by thousands of reefs that need to be alive for this unique archipelago to continue to exist in the future. The environment has a direct affect on all facets of Maldivian life.

The Government of Maldives recognises the critical role of the environment in national development and continues to make every effort to ensure the protection and preservation of our environment.

Several government regulations have been set up to enable a system to provide natural protection for the otherwise fragile 1,190 islands of Maldives. Starting in 1995, important marine areas have been designated as protected regions. Endangered marine species like the whale shark, turtles, dolphins, as well as corals, have also been protected by law. Hanifaru, a bay like lagoon in Baa atoll, is among the most recently protected marine areas and now designated as a UNESCO Biosphere reserve. This area is home to rays from around the Maldives that gather here to feast on the masses of plankton brought into the lagoon by water currents.

  

Key environmental issues

As a direct driver, climate change has direct and indirect impacts on the environment and is considered as one of the greatest challenge to social and economic development, particularly for small island developing states (SIDS) such as the Maldives. Climate change threatens Maldives on multiple fronts. The characteristics which make Maldives highly vulnerable to climate change impacts are numerous and inherent in its archipelagic small island states. The dispersed coral islands are small, low lying and morphologically unstable, which makes them highly susceptible to the changing climatic variables.

Similar to other SIDS, the contribution of Maldives to global GHG emission is negligible, however, they are among the least equipped to respond and adapt to climate change impacts.

Sea level rise is recognized as the greatest threat to Maldives as this increases the possibility of land inundation. The small size and low elevation of the islands increases the vulnerability to coastal hazards. Extreme events have become frequent over the past decades, while some events had led to earthquakes and tsunamis, cyclones/thunderstorms, strong winds and tornadoes.

The Maldives gives high priority to strengthen environmental governance as to effectively address the current and emerging environmental challenges and integrate sustainable development into the planning process.

Environmental protection is fundamental to the existence of Maldives.

Maldives has incorporated climate change adaptation and mitigation into sectoral planning and development and the Maldives Climate Change Policy Framework (MCCPF) is the key policy document. Maldives aims to undertake adaptation actions and opportunities and build climate resilient infrastructure to address the current and future impacts of climate change.

The Maldives has continued to work in the wider international context in making commitments to global efforts in environmental protection and sustainable development. Maldives has played key roles in highlighting the special vulnerability of low-lying small islands developing states to the climate change and in getting the attention to this issue in the international forums.