Denmark will fund climate mitigation programs in Kenya, Indonesia and the Maldives as part of its US$40 million ‘fast-track’ climate change initiative.
Danish Minister for Development Cooperation Søren Pind and Minister for Climate Change and Energy Dr Lykke Friis held a joint press conference with President Mohamed Nasheed this morning in the President’s Office, and announced assistance for infrastructure and capacity-building projects in the Maldives.
“In global climate talks there is sometimes the tendency to say ‘If we don’t agree now, we’ll just agree next year.’ But if anyone suffers from that illusion they should come to the Maldives, because here you get an education that action is needed now,” said Dr Friis.
“There has been so much debate about [assistance] being just around the corner – what we wanted to do with this visit was get around that corner. We did not come empty handed – we came with some very concrete initiatives with which we will continue to deepen the cooperation between our two countries,” she added.
While the Maldives is graduating from UN Less-Developed Country (LDC) status to middle income in January, something that may lead many donors to perceive the country as less needy’, Dr Friis explained that the Maldives had the ability to “make the case” for climate change action.
“Sometimes climate change is abstract and theoretical – you need concrete case studies like the Maldives,” she said. “Anybody following climate change has been inspired by the President Nasheed’s underwater cabinet meeting.”
“What we take back home is that it is not enough just to talk about climate change, but you have to walk the walk.”
Pind added that travelling to the Maldives and seeing the impact of environment erosion first hand “makes an impression.”
“It is one thing to hear about it, but very different to see it in reality,’ he said.
Pind also added that the Danish delegation had held talks with President Nasheed on other challenges facing the country, such as growing radicalisation.
“I had the opportunity to discuss this with the President,” he said. “I have recently travelled to, Kenya, Somaliland and Ethiopia, and I can tell you that [radicalisation] is not only a challenge faced in the Maldives. We discussed the importance of open societies to be able to combat these challenges.”
During the press conference, President Nasheed also revealed the government’s intention to leave the G77, a coalition of 131 developing nations formed in 1964 to promote their collective economic interests in the United Nations.
“The G77 was formed during the Cold War – now it’s obsolete and unnecessary. I pointed this out in Copenhagen as a well. They do not work on our behalf, and they do not understand our present issues,” Nasheed said. “We do not intend to remain in G77, we do not think this is an organisation that is relevant or necessary anymore. We also think there are many countries within the G77 group that will go along with us.”