Maldives - National Planning on short-lived climate pollutants

Situated in South Asia, the small island nation of the Maldives is home to about half a million people. Comprised of over a thousand dispersed islands, and as one of the most low-lying countries in the world, the population is particularly vulnerable to the devastating impacts of climate change such as flooding and extreme weather events. At the same time, roughly 40% of the population resides in the dense capital of Malé, an area of 2.2 square miles, where poor urban air quality is a growing concern to public health, derived from incomplete combustion in shipping, transport, the open burning of waste and construction.

Despite their negligible contribution to global emissions (0.003%), the Maldives is committed to taking concrete and strategic action to address the issues of air pollution to protect the environment and safeguard human health.

In 2019, the Maldives’ National Action Plan on Air Pollutants was launched, aligning it with existing plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and outlining 28 mitigation measures across 3 priority source sectors: waste, electricity generation, and transport. If implemented fully, the plan demonstrates a 40% reduction in black carbon, a 27% reduction in nitrogen oxides, and a 59% reduction in direct fine particulate matter emissions by 2030 compared to baseline scenarios. This was the first time air pollutant reductions had been quantified for measures originally developed to reduce greenhouse gases in the country. The plan has additionally demonstrated that meeting international climate change commitments can provide substantial local benefits to Maldivians. 


Technical assistance and funding has been provided by the SNAP initiative with the aim to support a national planning process on short-lived climate pollutants and implement resulting mitigation measures, including:

  • Strengthening coordination and action on short-lived climate pollutants
  • Identifying major emission sources, their likely evolution and mitigation potential
  • Assessing the co-benefits of action
  • Prioritising the most relevant measures at national scale
  • Identifying ways to promote and implement these mitigation measures
  • Incorporating short-lived climate pollutants into existing plans and activities where they are not currently considered
  • Supporting the implementation of priority measures and track progress

What we're doing


Phase I – Institutional Strengthening - Complete

Between 2015 and 2017, the SNAP initiative provided institutional strengthening support to the Environment Department of the Ministry of Environment with the ultimate objective to elevate attention on SLCPs, and to sustainably increase the level of action taken by promoting the coordination and the scale-up of activities at the national level. A dedicated unit was established within the Ministry of Environment and was mandated to implement the CCAC Programme in the country, collect SLCP data, and to raise awareness. The unit was also mandated to mobilise key national stakeholders and to promote financing and mainstreaming of SLCP implementation measures.
The main results of this first phase included the formation of a technical taskforce which provided technical advice to the unit on national issues regarding the potential impacts of SLCPs; major emission sources where action could begin immediately; the information, capacity and finance gaps which challenged effective mitigation; and ensured policy coherence and enhanced synergy across various national activities related to SLCPs. In addition, a communication strategy was implemented, and several communication materials were produced, and sessions undertaken nationally to raise awareness on the topic.

By the end of Phase I, the SLCP mandate was permanently integrated into civil service and into the Air Quality and Chemicals unit within the Ministry of Environment, where National SLCP Plans can then be sustainably developed, implemented and monitored. The unit is currently responsible for developing and implementing policies and legislative frameworks on air quality management, data collection and analysis, and is also coordinating the Phase II and III of SNAP.

Phase II – National SLCP Planning – Complete

Following this first phase, the Ministry of Environment and the SNAP Initiative agreed to collaborate to undertake a national planning process which took place from 2018-2019, to support and use the LEAP software in order to provide sector and country level inventories of air pollutants, mitigation scenarios, estimation of benefits of action, and to develop a national planning document. Linkages were built with the internal BUR team during this process.

Virtual and in-country workshops were facilitated by the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) to provide trainings on LEAP and to closely work with the Ministry on compiling an air pollutant emission inventory and analysis. The resulting inventory and mitigation scenarios, which drew on nationally available data, led to the estimation of the co-benefits of action outlined in a national planning document.. Extensive consultations with national stakeholders were organised during this process.

The Maldives’ first National Action Plan on Air Pollutants, was launched by H.E. Aishath Nahula, Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation, on 12 June 2019, at an event to celebrate World Environment Day. This plan describes the pollutants in detail, including the emission levels of different pollutants in the Maldives, and their likely progression in the future. The mitigation measures included in this action plan are in line

with existing national plans to reduce greenhouse emissions from the key source sectors. To this end, the measures selected for this action plan were compiled firstly from the mitigation measures that have been included in the Maldives’ long-term climate goals the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC), and then from the planned measures from different sectors that were not part of the climate change plans. These include revising and enforcing emission standards for road vehicles and the domestic marine fleet, which are not currently covered by regulations.

Phase III – Support for the Implementation of the SLCP Strategy – Ongoing

Following the endorsement of the plan, a workplan was established between the Maldives and the SNAP initiative to support the implementation of the National Action Plan on Air Pollutants. It includes the following activities:

  • Supporting the implementation of the Action Plan on Air Pollutants
  • Support setting fuel quality standards through the development of a cost benefit assessment to introduce Euro VI fuel and vehicle emission standards. A request to the CCAC Solution Centre allowed the recruitment of an expert to support this feasibility study.
  • Developing an annual reporting structure to outline progress made on implementation of the national action plan.
  • Strengthen capacity within the Air Quality and Chemicals Unit, the Climate Change Department and the Maldives National University to undertake integrated air pollution and climate change analysis.
  • Support mobilization of resources and technical assistance for the implementation of air quality measures including the preparation of sectoral briefings and the identification of areas where additional assistance of funding is required
  • Collaborating with other CCAC initiatives and technical institutions to support these activities more broadly