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Country Highlights

Maldives: Sustainable Development Amid Environmental Concerns

The Maldives, as a small island developing state, faces significant economic, social, and environmental challenges. The country’s heavy reliance on tourism and fisheries for livelihoods makes it vulnerable to any impact on tourism, with disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic and new shocks from the war in Ukraine highlighting the sector’s fragility. The sudden stop in tourism, the main driver of growth, jobs, and revenues, had devastating economic consequences for the tourism-dependent economy. The Maldives’ dependence on tourism and limited sectoral diversification remain key structural challenges, and the country faces risks from commodity price volatility, high debt levels, and external financing needs.

The Maldives has been acutely aware of the increasing challenges posed by climate change, with more frequent soil erosion, loss of beaches, and saltwater intrusion. The country has been leading by example in addressing these challenges, with a focus on low carbon growth, environmentally sustainable and resilient smart health-care services, and sustainable transport, wastewater, and sanitation. The Maldives has also been working on initiatives to reduce pesticide use, enhance public knowledge and awareness about the use of organic products, and improve mental, physical, and social well-being and quality of life through the development of green spaces.

The Maldives has developed a National Climate Change Policy Framework to address the impacts of climate change and to build and strengthen the nation’s resilience. The country has committed to achieving low-emission and climate-resilient development and has emphasized the need for regional and global cooperation to combat climate change. The Maldives firmly believes that appropriate actions are necessary to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build resilience to adapt to changing climatic conditions. The country has also recognized the importance of scientific underpinnings and the need for global cooperation to address the impacts of climate change.

The Maldives’ tourism industry, while vital to its economy, has also been a source of environmental concern. Improper waste disposal and climate change-induced coral bleaching have posed significant threats to the country’s delicate ecosystem. The tourism industry, while a major source of revenue, has also been blamed for exacerbating the environmental crisis. However, the Maldives has been working on sustainability initiatives, with several resorts leading the pack on innovative sustainability actions to minimize their impact on the environment. The Maldives’ heavy reliance on tourism and limited sectoral diversification, combined with the increasing challenges posed by climate change, have made sustainable development and environmental concerns central to the country’s growth narrative. While the tourism industry is vital to the economy, the country has been actively working on sustainability initiatives to minimize its impact on the environment. The Maldives has also been leading by example in addressing the challenges posed by climate change, with a focus on low carbon growth, environmentally sustainable and resilient services, and sustainable transport, wastewater, and sanitation.

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Featured Reports

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