President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has said that transitioning to a Blue Economy, whilst combatting the effects of climate change and enhancing climate resilience are key priorities of the Maldivian Government. The President made the remarks at the Blue Leaders Call to Action on Ocean and Climate summit, a High-level breakfast briefing on the key findings of the Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (SROCC), in New York City.
This event was attended by the leaders of Small Island States, during which they were briefed on the findings of the aforementioned report, which comprehensively detailed current threats to the Ocean and the adverse consequences that are entailed by the melting of its frozen parts, scientifically known as the Cryosphere.
Speaking at the event, the President mentioned that the significance of being counted among the World’s Blue Leaders is not lost on him, as he represents a country that is uniquely dependent upon the Ocean, and exceptionally vulnerable to Sea-Levels Rising. He emphasized that this is why the Government aims to build climate-smart and resilient islands, strengthening the implementation of Nationally Determined Contributors (NDC) in line with the Paris Agreement.
Further, he called on other members of the World Community to commit to more ambitious NDCs by 2020 in order to keep global heating within the critical 1.5 degrees Celsius threshold, which is essential for averting ecological disaster in the global ocean. He also expounded upon his Administration’s measures to enforce standards for the transport sector to switch to low carbon resilient transportation options, and highlighted the Maldives’ government’s recent nomination of two entire atolls to endorse as UNESCO biosphere reserves.
The President also highlighted his administration’s pledge on combating plastic pollution and stressed that the proliferation of plastic litter in the ocean risks devastating our marine biodiversity, destroying coral reefs and ruining the country’s natural beauty. Moreover, the President urged International Partners to take measures to ban single-use plastics while mentioning his own administration’s ambitious plan to phase out single-use plastic by 2023.
The President further stressed on the importance of the ocean and its resources for countries like the Maldives for sustenance and livelihoods, and also emphasized the vulnerability of the country to the adverse effects of climate change, and rising sea-levels.
Therefore the President further stated that it is incumbent upon us to reinvigorate our efforts to transition to sustainable blue economies, and urged world leaders to take urgent action to combat the devastating impacts of climate change. In this regard, he appealed to the international community to agree to more robust measures to highly protect at least 30% of the Ocean and manage the remaining 70% at the 2020 UN Biodiversity Conference due to be held in Kumming, and also to agree on a cohesive framework for the management and conservation of the high seas by 2020.