Parley recognises Maldives as Future Island Nation’, launches 10-year action plan on waste management

Parley for the Oceans has recognised the Maldives as the first ‘Future Island Nation’, as the environmental organisation and the island nation extend their partnership to reduce plastic waste.

The Maldives and Parley have extended their partnership to create a scalable, nationwide framework for solutions towards the achievement of SDG 7, SDG 9, SDG 11, SDG 12, SDG 13, SDG 14 and SDG 15 under the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The island nation was the first to answer a global call to action led by Parley in collaboration with the UN-OHRLLS to demonstrate how small island developing states (SIDS) can become leaders in the fight to end marine plastic pollution by implementing the Parley AIR Strategy (Avoid, Intercept, Redesign) in a collaborative, innovative approach to solutions.

With the successful completion of an initial pilot phase, Parley recognises the Maldives as the first ‘Future Island Nation.’ The expanding collaboration now includes the Ministry of Environment and the national waste management company WAMCO in a 10-year action plan.

Immediate steps include policy change, the expansion of recycling infrastructure, cleanups and community education initiatives across all levels of society, industry and government. Education and direct action initiatives will also be offered to tourists visiting the country, empowering visitors to become messengers for the oceans who bring change back to their homeland.

“As a small island nation, we are faced with many economic and environmental challenges. We suffer from problems that we didn’t create, and materials we didn’t invent. Plastic pollution is an example of that. We need to protect our ocean, because it is our national treasure, and we need to find ways to establish a new, vibrant blue economy,” Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, President of the Maldives, was quoted in a statement, as saying.

“That is why we decided to take the path of ocean conservation, collaboration and Eco-Innovation with Parley for the Oceans. Together, we will tackle plastic pollution, harness alternative, clean energy sources, and protect Maldivian waters from illegal fishing. I truly believe in the innovative power and resilience of my country, and its young and creative people.”

Declaring the Maldives as the base and epicentre for its next chapter, Parley is calling for a ‘Material Revolution’ and is gathering the world’s leading creators and scientists to replace all harmful materials and products used in the supply chains of its brand partners within the next seven years.

The base for this global eco-innovation initiative will be a small island in the southern atolls of the Maldives, where Parley is building, in collaboration with the Maldives, a permanent collaboration space, Parley Station One.

Parley Station One, located on the island of Kondey Mathee Laabadhoo in the southern Gaafu Alifu atoll, will provide a unique destination and collaboration space for creators, leaders and thinkers – connecting art, design, science, technology and business in an eco-innovation driver for a new, blue economy. This programme will turn the Maldives into a launchpad for future technology, research and development, and creative collaboration.

“To leave toxic materials in the past, we need to do more than intercept them. We need to develop and test new materials, new technologies and question existing product concepts and business models. By inventing Ocean Plastic, Parley turned a problem into an economic opportunity, and with our AIR Strategy, we are creating the blueprints for systemic change,” Cyrill Gutsch, Founder and CEO of Parley for the Oceans said.

“The Republic of the Maldives was early to believe in our vision and to act on our strategy. We’re honoured to call the Maldives the first ‘Future Island Nation’, because we see this magic country as a Symbol of Change and a canvas for the new. Together we are now not only combatting marine plastic pollution but piloting solutions for Climate Change and Illegal Fishing.”

The Maldives first entered into a collaboration with Parley in September 2016, during the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.

Since piloting the project, Parley has introduced programmes to reduce reliance on single-use plastics, as well as plastic interception and baling sites in island communities and more than 70 schools. Parley has also led collaborative cleanups on affected coastlines and opened the first-ever recycling centre and innovation lab in the island nation’s capital Male.

In collaboration with the Ministry of Education, local schools and NGOs, Parley Ocean School programmes have helped more than 100,000 youth and their parents go swimming and snorkelling to experience the world beneath the blue surface, many for the very first time.

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