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Maldives joined the Coalition in 2012 to complement its pursuit of a low-emission climate development plan. Maldives is among the world’s most low-lying countries and is highly vulnerable to sea level rise and extreme weather events caused by climate change. Despite the country itself being a miniscule contributor (0.003%) to global emissions, Maldives leads by example in both climate mitigation and adaptation.
“As a nation of widely-dispersed islands, our geography presents a number of particular challenges in areas with direct impacts on both climate change and air pollution— energy supply, solid waste management, and transport. Economies of scale and sheer upfront investment costs are stacked against us. But, we remain undeterred, and are working towards the twin goals of better air quality and climate change mitigation, both of which protect our population’s health and environment, with investments both from our national budget as well as through international assistance," said Mr. Abdullahi Majeed, Minister of State for Environment and Energy.
In 2019, Maldives’ first National Action Plan on Air Pollutants was launched, integrating existing plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air quality. The plan outlines 28 mitigation measures across three priority source sectors: waste, electricity generation, and transport. If implemented fully, the plan would result in a 40 percent reduction of black carbon, 27 percent reduction of nitrogen oxides, and 59 percent 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.
Maldives is actively driving international action for climate change and is itself taking action that benefits both the climate and air quality. One priority area for the country is the transport sector, with cars older than five years banned from being imported and only motorcycles with a certain engine capacity allowed into the country. Further, electric vehicles are allowed into the Maldives tax-free, while petrol and diesel vehicles face a 200 percent import duty. Sea-ferry operators in Malé City have coordinated routes to avoid congestion and reduce idle time at sea. The largest ferry operator, the Maldives Transport and Contracting Company, have also made efforts to maximize the distance travelled per litre of diesel in their vessels by establishing practices such as cruising at optimum speeds. To reduce overall passenger vehicle use, Maldives’ 2015 Second National Environment Plan focuses on increasing public transport, bicycle lanes, and footpaths.
In 2018, Maldives began developing a Standard Labelling Programme detailing the energy consumption and efficiency of electric appliances and incorporating energy efficiency measures into the building code. To further advance its commitment to phase out hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), Maldives worked with the CCAC on a feasibility study for district cooling, a more efficient and sustainable alternative to traditional air conditioners that use HFCs as refrigerants. The study found that district cooling could reduce energy use by 20 percent and promote low Global Warming Potential HFC alternative technology.
Maldives established the Alliance of Small Island States and as its first Chair. Maldives also leads the Climate Smart Resilient Islands Initiative on behalf of numerous island nations working towards more sustainable transport, tourism, and food practices.
Read below for more highlights of Maldives’ work.
Policies and Plans
Energy Efficiency and HFCs
The Maldives’ National Action Plan on Air Pollutants is an integrated appraoch to reducing both air pollution and cliamte forcers. The Maldives’ Ministry of Environment has developed, compiled and...