|Map of Maldives|
The announcement was made during the Rio de Janeiro meeting on Wednesday (June 21st). The commitment would see the Maldives become the first country in the world to become a marine reserve.
Marine reserve status for all 1,192 islands is likely to attract international investment in pilot schemes to explore new approaches to conservation and sustainability.
A number of islands in the Maldives are Biosphere Reserves. In July 2011 Baa Atoll which consists of 75 islands, was declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and the Government is working to ensure it maintains this status. It is a model that can be replicated throughout the rest of the Maldives.
President Waheed, who made the commitment while addressing the Rio +20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development, said, "I take this opportunity to announce my Government's commitment to make the entire Maldives, by 2017, the first country in the world to become, as a nation as a whole, a marine reserve."
The President went on to say, "This commitment reflects our respect for our unique natural environment. We have taken these measures to protect our coral reefs, lagoons, coral islands and coral sand beaches. The Maldives will take any action necessary to ensure our future." (PRNewswire/AsiaNet)