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Maldives holds first under-sea cabinet meeting. President makes frantic call for urgent actionon climate change
Maldives has made history by holding the first ever cabinet meeting in the world today in the sea near Girifushi which is a military training camp near capital Male, President Mohamed Nasheed who has been hailed for his courageous efforts to inspire greater world attention to tackle climate change, and his young team of ministers attended this 47th meeting of the cabinet. The under-sea cabinet signed a historic declaration making a frantic appeal to world leaders to take urgent and effective action to combat Climate Change. President Nasheed Vice President Mohamed Waheed and 12 members of the Cabinet signed 3 copies of the declaration, one of which will be sent to Copenhagen, one to be kept in the Presidents Office and the third for the National Museum. In the meeting the President and his cabinet ministers communicated in sign language used by divers. 3 ministers could not attend the meeting. They are Transport, Housing and Environment Minister Mohamed Aslam, Foreign Minister Dr. Ahmed Shaheed and Education Minister Dr. Musthafa Luthfy. Environment Minister Aslam is in London on an official visit. Dr. Shaheed and Dr. Luthfy could not attend due to health reasons.
Immediately after the meeting President Nsheed and his cabinet came to shallower waters and raising their faces above the sea a buoyant and smiling President told media joined by a representation of major world media networks that the purpose of the meeting was to tell the world what is going to happen to the Maldives if Climate Change is not tackled. He said its a challenging situation where everyone has to take part and urgent action needed to save the world. The President said its a serious issue which requires serious action. President Nasheed expressed the hope the world will take serious note of it and make a better deal in Copenhagen in December. He said his message is to impress upon the world leaders about the seriousness and urgency of the issue. CNN, BBC, Aljazeera, ABC, Reuters, Associated Press, Indian Star were present to cover the event.
President Nasheed has captured global attention when he made impassionate addresses at the UN Climate Summit and General Assembly in September and earned much praise for his leadership. He was also named by TIME magazine as the top environmentalist of 2009.
Maldives Divers Association was the major partner of the historic event. The event was conducted and coordinated with the prticipation of Maldivian divers only. The President and each member of the cabinet was escorted by one of their divers. The conduct of the meeting went on routine with Maldivian national flag hoisted near the table where they were seated. The President and other members all signed each of the three originals of the declaration in three separate rounds. After exchanging ok sign between the President, the 12 minute under sea cabinet meeting was over setting a new world record.
The declaration has expressed the worries and feelings of the Maldivians about the impending threats of Climate Change, and the urgent need for support for its survival. The islands of the Maldives rising barely a metre above the sea is the most vulnerable country to be submerged if climate change is not reveresed. Maldives is one of the first countries which will require a safe land for its people to live in such catastrophic situation. Climate Change is not affecting the Maldives alone, but if the carbon emissions are not reduced to minimum 350, the world and human life is at stake. Urgent action is needed to save the world and life on earth. Copenhagen is our last opportunity to make meaningful decisions. The event which was organised under the global 350 campaign which is focusing on urgent global action to reduce the carbon emission level to maximum healthy level of 350 ppm.
350 is a global media campaign consisting of grassroots groups dedicated to build pressure on international media and legislative bodies to drastically and immediately change carbon emission. 350 ppm is the maximum safe allowance of CO2 in the atmosphere before devastating and irrevversible climate change occurs. the world is already at 387 ppm.
The Maldives which has moved to the front line in the fight against climate change under the leadership of President Nsheed, is expected to earn much international publicity after this landmark under sea cabinet meeting. The event will also attract more tourists to visit Maldives which is one of the most famous tourist destination in the world.
There are more activities the Government has planned to carry out under the 350 campaign program. On the 24th of this month President Nasheed and his cabinet ministers will be pedalling on bicycles as a sign of their deep commitment to adapt to green policies and lifestyle. President Nasheed has earlier announced to make the Maldives the first carbon neutral country in the world. The Government has decided to implement several programs to demonstrate its support to tackle climate change, including developing alternative energy sources and green tourist resorts which will run on renewable energy.