British High Commissioner pays farewell call on President Yameen

British High Commissioner to the Maldives John ‎Rankin paid a farewell call on President Abdulla Yameen today.

According to the President’s Office, ‎President Yameen ‎expressed his gratitude to High Commissioner Rankin for the ‎cooperation ‎and close friendship with ‎the Maldives during his tenure and conveyed his hopes to further ‎strengthen the close mutual ‎relations the two ‎countries.

Discussions were also focused on the current political situation ‎of the country and President Yameen assured the Government’s ‎commitment to uphold the rule of law and consolidate democracy in the ‎Maldives.

High Commissioner Rankin expressed his pleasure to serve as his nation’s High Commissioner to the Maldives and reassured the British Government’s commitment to work with the Maldives on “issues of mutual interest.”


Low number of submissions means “high chance” of scholarships for Maldivian students, says UK High Commission

The British High Commission to Sri Lanka and the Maldives has announced that applications for the Chevening Scholarship Scheme for 2011-2012 will close this Saturday April 30.

The High Commission expressed surprise at the fewer number of applications submitted this year from the Maldives compared with last year.

“Although disappointing for us, this is great news for prospective Maldivian students – those who apply in the next few days stand a higher chance than normal of being granted a fully-funded scholarship,” the High Commission said in a statement.

The Chevening Scholarship Scheme – which is the UK’s most prestigious scholarship scheme for foreign students – is opened to graduates in the early- to mid-stages of their professional or academic career in the government/private sector or at a non-governmental organisation. The emphasis is on study at the postgraduate level.

Applicants could be considering study in any field relevant to one or more of the UK government’s strategic international priorities, which can be accessed at However, particular priority will be given to applicants who will work to promote good governance or benefit socio-economic or environmental development in Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

Candidates should have some work or academic experience relating to their field of study as well as an offer from a UK higher education institution for the academic year 2011/2012. Preference will be given to those who have attained, or have demonstrated, the potential to attain, a position of responsibility and influence within their field in Sri Lanka or the Maldives.

The applications, available only online, can be accessed at


Transparency Maldives granted Rf1m to assess financing of political parties

Local NGO Transparency Maldives has received a grant of almost one million rufiya (GBP£50,000) from the British High Commission in Colombo for a project investigating the financing of political parties in the Maldives.

The grant was given through the UK government’s Strategic Programme Fund (SPF) in a bid to promote “greater transparency and accountability in political processes and increased general understanding of democracy and democratic principles in the Maldives.”

Project Coordinator Thoriq Hamid told Minivan News that experts from Transparency International would be training the local NGO in the same tool and methodology that had been “very successful” in assessing the financing of political parties in Latin America and Pakistan.

TM would be cooperating with the Elections Commission (EC) during the one year project, Thoriq said, and reviewing the specific laws and regulations of political party financing relevant to the Maldives.

Thoriq said he believed political parties would willingly open their books to the NGO.

“We are counting on our reputation – we have a good relationship with most political parties in the country,” Thoriq said.

“The tool itself tracks accountability, so an obvious lack of cooperation would reflect a lack of transparency,” he explained.

Transparency International considers corruption to be a major obstacle to development in growing economies. The organisation’s Global Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), which ranks countries according to the degree to which corruption is perceived to exist among public officials and politicians, listed Maldives 130th in 2009, equal with Mozambique and Nigeria.

The country’s CPI declined to 2.5 from 2.8 in 2008 and 3.3 in 2007, indicating a worsening perception of corruption.

Transparency Maldives describes itself as a “non-political organisation that promotes collaboration, awareness, and other initiatives to improve governance and eliminate corruption from the daily lives of people.”


Letter on Copenhagen summit

Dear Editor,

A political agreement to prevent dangerous climate change is critical and achievable.

The world is five days into one of the most important global conferences of our time: the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Copenhagen (COP15). Negotiators currently getting down to work are tasked with coming up with a replacement to the Kyoto Protocol that will prevent the nightmare scenarios that many climate scientists have predicted becoming a reality. A formidable challenge.

Overwhelming scientific evidence – endorsed by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – shows that human activity is the primary force driving climate change. The UK recognises that the developed world has historic responsibility for climate change and must make ambitious commitments to tackle its effects, including through making funds available to developing countries.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown proposed, at last month’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, the establishment of an annual fund which would make available $10bn to assist developing countries in tacking climate climate immediately after an ambitious agreement at Copenhagen.

COP15 is a crucial engagement in the battle against dangerous climate change and the UK has taken an increasingly proactive position on pressing for an ambitious political agreement at Copenhagen. This year we became the world’s first country to have a legally binding long-term framework to cut emissions, adapt to climate change and commit to a low carbon economy: the UK Climate Change Act. And we have played a leading role in the European Union and the Commonwealth to encourage commitment to higher emission cuts and greater availability of resources to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change.

Collectively we need to agree an ambitious deal at Copenhagen to rise to this challenge. The UK believes that this should include:

  • A global recognition to reduce carbon emissions to 50% below 1990 levels by 2050
  • Global temperature rise limited to 2 Degrees above pre-industrial levels.
  • Developed Country reduction targets that add up to least 25% below 1990 levels by 2020
  • Developing country actions that add up to at least 15% below business as usual for 2020.
  • Low carbon growth plans to prepare for transition to a global low carbon economy.

The above ambitions are a reflection of the importance the UK gives to recognising the developed world’s historic responsibility for global CO2 emissions, and the priority we have given to limiting the impact of dangerous climate change.

The UK has worked with Sri Lanka and Maldives as partners in tackling this critical global issue, over the past the year. In Sri Lanka, we funded a conference bringing together local environmental NGOs and the government to discuss critical issues that would be on the negotiating table in Copenhagen. In Maldives, we regularly discuss climate issues with the government and have welcomed their immense efforts to highlight the importance of acting against climate change. In particular, President Nasheed’s announcement to go carbon neutral by 2020 and the way Maldivian civil society have taken the initiative to support global climate change campaigns such as’s international day of action on 24 October 2009 have helped Maldives to lead the way in international debates on climate change.

Developing country commitments and actions have shifted the terms of negotiation in the path to Copenhagen but to achieve our global ambitions against climate change a sustained effort is needed. We look forward to continuing to work with Sri Lanka and Maldives to keep up the pressure through COP15 and beyond so that we do not leave climate change as a problem for the next generation.

Dr Peter Hayes is the British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka/Maldives