Maldives president Mohamed Nasheed has asked his cabinet members to take scuba lessons and learn underwater signs in preparation for a cabinet meeting he has called for October 17 – the reason for the lessons and sign language is because the meeting will be held 20 feet underwater.
The small low-lying nation archipelago averages only seven feet above sea-level, and may be one of the first nations to disappear entirely due to sea level rise from global warming.
The intention is to draw the attention of the world leaders to the issue of global warming and highlight how serious are the threats faced by Maldives as a result,” said Aminath Shauna from president Nasheed’s office. “”If we can stop climate change, the lowest-lying nation on earth will be saved.”
The meeting will take place off the island of Girifushi, a twenty minute boat ride from the capital of Male. On the agenda for the meeting is for cabinet ministers to sign a document (sheathed in water-proof plates) calling on all countries to cut their carbon emissions. The document will be presented at the COP15 Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen this December where world leaders will meet to negotiate a treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol and lead the world into the climate for the 21st century.
Nasheed took office last year, and since then has become an important international voice on the consequences of climate change, including very real probability that his and other low lying island nations will disappear within the century. President Nasheed has committed Maldives to become the first carbon neutral nation, announcing the country will stop using fossil fuels by 2020.
UN News Centre