President Nasheed praises Cancun climate talks, but warns more work ahead

President Mohamed Nasheed has praised the outcome of climate change talks that concluded last week in Cancun, Mexico as helping to restore confidence in international commitments like the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Writing to Mexican President Felipe Calderón, Nasheed said that the country “strongly supports” the Cancun Agreements and the impact they could have on helping countries all over the world in pursuing sustainable economies.

A source in the President’s Office told Minivan News that is was encouraging that the Cancun Agreements effectively “anchored” many of the main aspects of the Copenhagen Accord that the Maldives had supported in its own commitments to tackle impacts of climate change.

However, the source conceded that commitments outlined during the Cancun talks alone would not be enough to combat concerns held by the Maldives and other nations over the impacts climate change could have on rising sea levels and the wider ecosystem.

“Cancun alone won’t be enough,” said the source.  “We need to do more in raising green awareness.”

The aspects that are thought to have been anchored in Cancun include securing emissions reductions from every developed and developing nation alongside the raising of US$100 billion in funding each year to aid sustainability initiatives based on low carbon developments for smaller economies from 2020.

For the Maldives, 2020 proves to be a very big year with President Nasheed committing to make the nation Carbon Neutral, an ambition the president last month claimed will be a disaster for the nation if not met.

However, the source said that Cancun did not require any significant changes in the Maldives green policy, claiming the country had made the most ambitious commitments of any nation in the world.

The exact nature of what this carbon neutral commitments will entail for the nation has not yet been outlined, with a “masterplan” currently being compiled with funding from the La Compagnie Benjamin de Rothschild.  It is hoped that this “carbon Neutral Masterplan” will outline definite measures that can be adopted by other nations to follow in attempts to pursue more sustainable economies.

“Adopting carbon neutrals goals is not just important because climate change is a major global problem, which it is, but because it also makes economic sense,” added the President’s office spokesperson.

Climate change consideration

However, not everyone has been convinced that the potential impacts of climate change on rising sea levels within low lying nations like the Maldives are a vital issue to address for business.

Andrew Harrison, who was recently appointed CEO of GMR Male’ International Airport, said that at least from the viewpoint of insurance companies, the risk of sea levels increasing to a point that disrupted operations at the site were not even considered in its premiums.

“When we became involved in the bid process, we engaged three leading companies who are at the forefront of analysing geophysical activity, climate change and the impact rising sea levels,” he said.  “Insurers are notorious for considering even unimaginable risks, so I can tell you that if no insurance company considers this in any of their policies for the Maldives, we think that the risk is pretty low.”

Speaking to Minivan News last month, environmental organisation Greenpeace said it believed the Maldives acted more as a symbol than a practical demonstration of how national development and fighting climate change can be mutually exclusive.

Wendel Trio, Climate Policy and Global Deal Coordinator for Greenpeace International, believed that the Maldives can nonetheless play an iconic role in promoting the potential benefits of adopting alternate energy programmes.

In looking specifically at the Maldives, the Greenpeace spokesperson accepted that the country is somewhat limited by its size in the role it can have as an advocate for more sustainable business and lifestyles.


8 thoughts on “President Nasheed praises Cancun climate talks, but warns more work ahead”

  1. Thanks to the direction of President Nasheed and his chief negotiator Environment Minister Aslam. Cancun success is proof that Aslam can do a superb job as the foreign Minister too.

  2. Maldives needs to control internal conflicts before they could give the energy to international matters. I urge Nasheed to make wise decisions on solving matters of national harmony.

  3. I wish that somebody could do a survey on what the Maldivian ppl FEEL is the most urgent issue which neeeds to be addressed out of the following issues:

    1:Gangsterism and violent crime


    3:the rise of Religious extremism,

    4:overcrowding and homelessnness,

    5:a sense of political anarchy and the consequent inability of the Government to control the nation's risk factors due to the lack of co-operation amongst the parties,

    6:a lack of trust in a judiciary which appears to act as though it is not accountable to the Maldivian people or to the Creator,

    7:Climate change

    8: Please feel free to add to this list in this space any other issues.

    Perhaps the survey could ask the participants to list from say, 1 to ten, what is felt to be most important as number 1 and what is felt to be the least important issue as number ten?

    Minivan, is there any chance you guys could conduct such a survey?

    Or conduct your own survey of same nature?

    Could somebdy, anybody, do an online survey of what the Maldivian people feel is most urgent, and could the Government please focus on those issues the MOST as this would seem the 'democratic' thing to do?

  4. @Ben

    Please change priority number 7 to Existence of Maldives for the future generations Or a Nation for Grandchildren of todays generations. MDP policies are not so short sighted that they only deal with current issues.

    If you do a survey in islands one of the first priorities is prevention of island erosion. Island Erosion is one of the first impacts of slow changes that climate Change brings about.

  5. This is a poorly written article. I wish MInivan News would do some background research besides just vomting what the 'source' tells them

  6. @Climate Change: Please don't get me wrong. I believe very strongly that it is great that Your President is fighting for the, to quote yourself who expressed it so powerfully, "Existence of Maldives for the future generations Or a Nation for Grandchildren of todays generations...'

    My list of priorities was not in any order, that was for you guys to decide, it was not even a comprehensive list it was open to suggestion or change.

    I guess I was feeling the frustration of a number of ppl who felt that other issues SEEM more IMMEDIATE and believed this issue was not wrong to be addressed, but perhaps should not SEEM like the Government's main FOCUS at the moment.

    But when you expressed the importance of climate change like that, so powerfully, I am happy to concede I was speaking out of frustration and I was wrong.

    The level of gangsterism and the potential for violence and intolerance in Maldives is something that really saddens and frightens me, therefore I was frustrated personally...

  7. It seems that the country size doesn't matter in doing a good thing for the nations of the world. Maldives have recently done much good work on environmental issues in climate talks.


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