Participants at the ‘Building Partnerships for Climate Change Adaptation Forum’. Photo: UNDP Maldives 2013.

Forum held to build partnerships towards addressing climate change

27 Jun 2013

“With strong partnerships, we can make small but important incremental steps towards achieving a Maldives that is more resilient to climate change”

The ‘Building Partnerships for Climate Change Adaptation Forum’ was held at Bandos Island Resort organized by the Ministry of Tourism Arts and Culture (MoTAC) of the Government of Maldives, with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

Facilitated under the Government, UNDP and Least Developed Country Fund (LDCF) and GEF supported Tourism Adaptation Project (TAP), the forum aimed to strengthen partnerships to promote adaptation to climate change in the tourism sector and dependent communities. The key objectives of the forum were to;-

•    Prioritize the key climate change risks for the industry;
•    Formalize and adopt the proposed national tourism climate change adaptation platform;
•    Review the key recommendations of the studies undertaken, and make a set of priority recommendations for policy and regulatory changes; and,
•    Generate ideas for pilot projects that can be implemented in partnership with the tourism industry and depended communities.

The aim of the partnership projects is to demonstrate possible adaptation activities in the area of climate-resilient infrastructure; freshwater management; waste and wastewater management; protection of coastal ridges and vegetative belts; and diversification of energy services with renewable sources.

The workshop was attended by policy makers, cities and island councillors, private sectors including resort owners and investors, engineers, architects, civil society and the media. On going projects addressing climate change adaptation in the tourism sector were showcased at the forum.

In his opening remarks, the President of Maldives, Dr. Mohamed Waheed Hassan stated that Maldivians are vulnerable to the grave risks associated with climate change, yet they are the people who can least afford its impacts, and has least contributed to it. The President urged for the locals to be considered along with the tourists in the discussions at the forum, as well as in policy and planning processes to create resilient structures and shape adaptive capacity in the tourism sector. “Climate waits for no one […] The cost of adaptation action now will be much less than the cost of dealing with the consequences later,” the President said.

Speaking at the ceremony, the UNDP Resident Representative, Tony Lisle said that while the tourism industry provides jobs to more than 22,000 Maldivians, the industry could be fundamentally altered by the impacts of climate change. “The Maldivian tourism operators and communities are regularly exposed to heavy rainfall, sea swells and storm surges. Climate change threatens to tremendously intensify these phenomena, increasing the risks associated with daily operation of business and its value chain. Additionally, rising sea levels, acidification and  coral bleaching  threatens to have a longer term impact that could cripple the  industry,” the Resident Representative said.

The Resident Representative further stated that it will be important to focus on leveraging each other’s strengths to address the common vulnerabilities, including those of the communities, so that the tourism industry and its value chain can be enhanced to withstand the impacts of climate change, and in turn create more resilient communities.

The Tourism Adaptation Project is a two-year project designed to provide the tourism sector in Maldives with the required policy environment, regulatory guidance, technical skills and knowledge to ensure that climate change-related risks are systematically factored into day-to-day tourism operations.  

Contact Information

Aminath Ibrahim, Communication Officer, (+960) 3343285, aminath.ibrahim@undp.org
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