Maldives to be a marine reserve
Thu, 21 Jun 2012 10:50a.m.
The Maldives will become the first country to turn its waters into a marine reserve, which will be the world's largest, Maldives President Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik announced at the Rio+20 Summit.
Waheed said the proposal will be aimed at protecting the Maldives' rich biodiversity.
"I would like to announce today that Maldives will become the first country to be a marine reserve. We can do it in a short time. I hope we can do it in five years," he said, addressing the summit. "It will become the single largest marine reserve in the world. This policy will allow only sustainable and eco-friendly fishing."
Waheed also called on other countries to refocus their efforts on sustainable development. He said that as one of the world's smallest countries, the Maldives needed to be able to count on bigger nations to balance economic growth with development.
"For the sake of our children, our future generations, we must protect and nurture the earth. To do that, we must use the best of science and technology but remain grounded in the collective wisdom of our people, both ancient and modern," he said.
"Development policy must address the need for peaceful co-existence among all species while we address the need for economic growth. It is my hope that world governments will seize the moment to create a new paradigm for sustainable development."
The Maldives is a tiny archipelago in the Indian Ocean known mainly as a top beach destination. However, it has been rocked by political turmoil and climate change recently.
Earlier this year, the country's first democratically elected president, Mohamed Nasheed, was ousted by Waheed in what Nasheed called a coup.
At the same time, scientists say the waters surrounding the Maldives have risen significantly and the country could disappear in less than 200 years.
3 News / Reuters
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