As a recently democratized country, Maldives is challenged by deep socio-economic and environmental issues. Maldives successfully evolved from a Least Developed Country status to Middle Income Country status in 2011. The young democracy is undergoing a period of consolidation and aims to strengthen decentralization and accountable governance under the rule of law, and ensure equal rights for all.
Resilience and Peace
UNDP aims to support the Maldives to achieve steady democratic consolidation by strengthening democratic governance to guarantee citizen participation in sustainable development. We intend to empower citizens to participate and enjoy access to the services of an ideal democratic system. UNDP is committed to empowering people to meaningfully participate and provide equal access justice, human rights, public services, gender equality and women’s empowerment in a tolerant and peaceful society.
Citizen Participation and Engagement of Civil Society
UNDP intends to strengthen the relationship between the three key groups: public service providers, individual citizens and oversight bodies in order to increase and initiate collaborative governance. Enforcing steady engagement between state and citizen is central to UNDP in order to ensure meaningful participation of the communities in the political system. Therefore civil society is a crucial stakeholder in the democratic process. Empowerment of civil society reinforces the decentralization process as it opens up, for instance, for civic participation for youth and women in vulnerable groups to create various frameworks to partake or initiate democratic discourse.
Representation and Participation of Women in the Public sphere
Granting equal rights for women and men in all aspects of life is part of the Maldiviain constitution, as it is an essential step to achieve democratic consolidation. Over the years Maldives has broken down numerous barriers on their journey to gender equality, however some of these barriers still exist; such as the lack of women’s representation and participation in the decision making level. Breaking down such barriers is vital to implement gender-responsive policies. Thus, UNDP aims to improve access for women to engage in the political sphere by creating an empowering environment for women to engage in the political arena- by facilitating public perception and creating streams for discourse through political parties, CSOs, and media.
Access to Justice and Protection of Human Rights
Access to justice is an essential principle of the rule of law which is crucial for impartial protection of Human Rights. Unfortunately vulnerable and marginalised groups in both urban and rural settings in the Maldives do not have access to independent and impartial justice.
The first ever Legal and Justice Sector Baseline Study, conducted by UNDP in 2014, highlighted the structural and individual barriers to accessing justice such as:
Low level public confidence
Lack of awareness of the roles
Functions and procedures of the legal and justice sector agencies
Lack of affordability of legal assistance
In order to achieve steady democratic consolidation access justice should be available for all without discrimination; with transparency and accountability. UNDP aims to support the Maldives to develop and implement effective legal aid mechanisms, and strengthen the functions and capacity of the justice sector.