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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 6th, 2009
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

Maldives Join the Climate Neutral Network with a Pledge to Become World’s First Carbon Neutral Nation
Nairobi, 4 May 2009 – The Republic of Maldives, one of the countries most affected by climate change, has joined the Climate Neutral Network led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

This follows the announcement by Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed earlier this year to make the Indian Ocean island nation the world’s first carbon neutral country in just 10 years’ time, by 2019.

This ambitious objective will be achieved by fully switching to renewable sources of energy such as solar panels and wind turbines, investments in other new technologies, and sharing of best practices.

President Nasheed declared that “the Maldives will no longer be a net contributor to greenhouse gas emissions”.

“Climate change isn’t a vague and abstract danger but a real threat to our survival. But climate change not only threatens the Maldives, it threatens us all”, he added.

No part of the Maldives’ 1,200 tropical coral islets rises more than six feet (1.8 meters) above sea level, leaving the 400,000 inhabitants at great risk of rising sea levels and storm surges.

As part of coping with the effects of climate change, the Maldives Government focuses on coastal zone protection, land use management and protection of critical infrastructure.

The Maldives has become the seventh country to join the Climate Neutral Network (CN Net), a UNEP initiative launched in February 2008 to promote global transition to low-carbon economies and societies which also includes cities, regions, companies and organizations.

The other six nations that have pledged to move towards climate neutrality and joined the CN Net are Costa Rica, Iceland, Monaco, New Zealand, Niue and Norway.

Welcoming the Republic of Maldives on board the CN Net, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner stated that: “Climate neutrality is not just a developed nations’ concern, nor is it their prerogative. Developing nations such as Maldives can indeed leapfrog by embracing the low-carbon development model, which will assist in greening their economies and weathering both climatic and economic storms.”

“When the most climate change vulnerable nations display leadership in addressing the cause of the problem which they had very little to contribute to, there is no excuse for others not to act. The global community of nations can and must express its commitment to protecting the planet and powering green growth by sealing an ambitious climate deal at this year’s UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen”, he concluded.

For more information, contact:

At the Government of the Republic of Maldives: Ahmed Saleem, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Housing, Transport and Environment, Tel: 3331695, Fax: 3331694, or e-mail:  saleem at meew.gov.mv, internet: www.environment.gov.mv/

At UNEP:

Nick Nuttall, UNEP Spokesperson and Head of Media, on Tel: +254-20-762-3084, Mobile: +254-733-632755, or when traveling: +41-79-596-5737, or e-mail:  nick.nuttall at unep.org

Or: Xenya Cherny Scanlon, Information Officer, Climate Neutral Network, on Tel: +254- 20-762-4387, Mobile: +254-721-847-563, or e-mail:  xenya.scanlon at unep.org; internet: www.unep.org/climateneutral

***********************************
Jim Sniffen
Programme Officer
UN Environment Programme
New York
tel: +1-212-963-8094/8210
 info at nyo.unep.org
 www.nyo.unep.org

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