Maldives Promotion House – The Maldivian government has announced that the Maldives will become the first country to be a marine reserve. This will also make Maldives the single largest marine reserve in the world to protect its fisheries and marine biodiversity.
The announcement was made at the 1st Plenary Meeting of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, also known as Rio+20. During the conference the President of Maldives highlighted that the Maldives remains wedded to sustainable pole-and-line fishing, while others continue unsustainable fishing practices.
He also noted that the Maldives was one of the only three countries to have ever graduated from the United Nations’ Least Developed Country category. Highlighting the Maldives’ carbon neutrality targets, President Waheed called for a third global sustainable development conference for Small Island Developing States in 2014.
President Waheed also conveyed to all world leaders, a message from the children of the Maldives, regarding their environmental concerns for the future. The children presented the President with their concerns at a children’s conference organized as part of the Maldives’ preparations for Rio+20.
Marine reserve status for all 1,192 islands is likely to attract international investment in pilot schemes to explore new approaches to conservation and sustainability.
A number of islands in the Maldives are Biosphere Reserves. In July 2011 Baa Atoll which consists of 75 islands, was declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and the Government is working to ensure it maintains this status. It is a model that can be replicated throughout the rest of the Maldives.