Inception of the Maldives Resilient Reef Ecosystem and Economy for the Future Project

December 17, 2023

Funded by the Global Fund for Coral Reefs (GFCR), the Maldives Resilient Reef Ecosystem and Economy for the Future (Maldives RREEF) project inception was held today. The project aims to introduce sustainable financing mechanisms to support coral conservation and facilitate the development of, and investment in, projects and businesses that sustainably contribute to the resilience of coral reefs and the communities living on these atolls. 

The priority sites for Phase 1 of the project are the nature parks of two southern-most atolls of Addu and Fuvahmulah. These two atolls are home to globally significant biodiversity and internationally threatened species. These two atolls have a network of protected areas covering coral reefs, seagrass, mangroves and wetlands, and these two atolls received the UNESCO Biosphere Reserves status in 2021. Both atolls have Nature Parks that are managed by the respective local councils allowing nature-based recreation in protected areas. The project was designed to be gender-responsive and has the potential to directly contribute to women's empowerment in Addu and Fuvahmulah Atolls in Phase 1. 

With priorities set in the areas of coral-positive economy, MPA system management and coral science followed with M&E, the GFCR programme is well positioned to contribute to achieving several SDG goals namely on gender equality, economic growth, innovation and infrastructure, sustainable cities and communities, life under water, life on land, and climate action. 

The project, backed by GFCR is supported by Ministry of Climate Change, Environment and Energy, Ministry of Fisheries and Ocean Resources, Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, Fuvahmulah City Council, Addu City Council, Maldives Marine Research Institute, Business Center Corporation, Fuvahmulah Nature Park, Addu Nature Park, Coral Research and Development Accelerator Platform (CORDAP) and SME Development Finance Corporation. 

Speaking at the inception ceremony, UNDP Resident Representative in the Maldives, Enrico Gaveglia said, "We are ready to kick into gear blue businesses and other bankable initiatives fed by catalytic capital towards regeneration of natural assets for the Maldives, that unlocks impact and feeds right back into its cycle of progress."

Deputy Minister of Environment Hon. Hassan Mohamed stressed on financial constraints faced by SIDS and how the project aims to offer an innovative approach for climate positivity & resilient communities—a promising trend in adapting to the constantly changing global climate.