Maldives

Location

Malé
Maldives
4° 20' 60" N, 73° 31' 59.88" E

Capital Based Focal Point:

Ministry of Planning, Human Resources & Environment

Capital City: 
Malé
Languages: 
Dhivehi
Category: Social
Indicator 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Source
Net enrollment ratio in primary education 98.7 98 98 99.90000000000001 98.099999999999994 98.099999999999994 97 MDG Database
Seats held by women in national parliament, percentage 6 6 6 6 12 12 12 12 12 6.5 UN Stats (MDGs indicators)
Literacy rate, adult total (% of people ages 15 and above) 96.33 98.40000000000001 World Bank
Category: Land
Indicator 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Source
Agricultural land (1000 Ha) 10 11 13 13 12 10 9 9 9 FAO
Forest area (sq km) 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 World Bank
Forest area (% of land area) 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 World Bank
Category: Tourism
Indicator 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Source
International tourism receipts (% of total exports) 321 327 337 402 471 287 434 Development Data Group, The World Bank. 2008. 2008 World Development Indicators Online. Washington, DC: The World Bank. Available at: http://go.worldbank.org/U0FSM7AQ40.
Category: Demographics
Indicator 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Source
Country population 272,248 276,450 280,491 284,443 288,392 292,404 296,511 300,718 305,027 309,430 World Bank
Population annual growth 1.6178 1.53166 1.45117 1.39912 1.37878 1.38157 1.39479 1.40886 1.42273 1.43316 World Bank
Maternal mortality ratio (modeled estimate, per 100,000 live births) 110 52 37 World Bank
Category: Indices
Indicator 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Source
HDI - Human Development Index 0.513 0.56 0.574 0.583 0.59 0.595 0.602 UNDP International Human Development Indicators - Calculated based on data from UNDESA (2009d), Barro and Lee (2010), UNESCO Institute for Statistics (2010b), World Bank (2010b) and IMF(2010a).
Category: Economy
Indicator 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Source
GNI per capita, PPP (current international $) 2,930 3,010 3,220 3,540 3,850 3,910 4,650 5,080 5,440 5,250 World Bank
ODA received as % of GNI 3.22 4.22 4.54 3.55 3.93 10.44 4.27 3.7 4.49 UN Stats (MDGs indicators)
Workers remittances (current US$) 2,000,000 2,000,000 2,000,000 2,000,000 2,900,000 2,300,000 2,800,000 2,982,000 2,982,000 UN Data
Category: Energy
Indicator 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Source
Electric power consumption (kWh) World Bank
Combustible renewables and waste (metric tons of oil equivalent) World Bank
Fossil fuel energy consumption (% of total) World Bank
Category: Climate Change and Sea-level Rise
Indicator 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Source
Carbon dioxide emissions (CO2), thousand metric tons of CO2 (CDIAC) 499 576 689 598 752 678 869 898 MDG Database (CDIAC Data)
Category: Freshwater
Indicator 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Source
Improved water source (% of population with access) 91 90 91 World Bank

Climate Change

The Maldives presented its First National Communication of the Maldives to the UNFCCC in 2001. The Maldives government also presented its First National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA) to the UNFCCC in 2008. In 2010, the Maldives signed the Copenhagen Accord.

The Maldives is among the most vulnerable countries to predicted climate changes. Its small size, extremely low elevation and the unconsolidated nature of its coral islands place the people and their livelihoods at very high risk from the negative effects of climate change, particularly sea level rise. Over 80% of the total land area of the Maldives is less than 1m above sealevel. As future sea levels are predicted to rise within the range of 9 to 88cm between 1990 and 2100, the islands of Maldives will soon be submerged according to the projected worst case scenario. Climate change hazards have not been taken into account in the location, design and construction of infrastructure. With the predicted rise in sea level and increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather, critical infrastructure such as airports, harbors, coastal protection structures, tourist facilities, hospitals, schools and utilities are at high risk. Additionally, the health of Maldives marine resources, coral reefs, fish stocks, migratory birds, terrestrial biodiversity and fresh water resources are all at risk to predicted climate changes.

Maldives National Adaptation Program of Action (NAPA)
First national communication of the Republic of Maldives to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

Natural and Environmental Disasters

In 2006, the UNDP released a Disaster Risk Profile report on the Maldives. This was followed by a national strategy in 2009, entitled Strategic National Action Plan for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation 2010-2020, presented to the UNISDR.

The frequency of natural disasters in the Maldives is low, and a national strategy was only formulated after the 2004 Tsunami. However, global climate change is expected to increase the incidence and severity of natural and environmental disasters in the Maldives. Greater extremes of drying and heavy rainfall are projected for the Maldives, increasing the risk of droughts and floods, especially during El Niño events. Tropical cyclones are predicted to be enhanced in intensity by 10 to 20%. An increased risk of storm tides is also predicted, which, considering the Maldives’ average height above sea level of 1.5 meters, is likely to cause regular tidal inundations in most islands even at the medium prediction as well as exacerbate beach erosion. The small size of the islands and their low elevation makes human settlements defenseless against severe weather events and storm surges. Since housing designs, structures and materials are not adapted to flooding, this vulnerability is exacerbated. Predictions indicate tidal inundations taking place recurrently on almost all islands. Although the Maldives lies outside of the tropical cyclone zone due to its proximity to the equator, there have been incidents in the past in which cyclonic storms have passed over the Maldives and the probability of such events occurring in the future remains. Historical patterns suggest that the northern Maldives islands will be more exposed to these cyclonic storms than the southern islands.

Strategic National Action Plan for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation 2010-2020
Maldives National Adaptation Program of Action (NAPA)

Waste Management

Waste management is handled by the Environmental Protection Agency of the Maldives Government.

There are waste management systems, sewerage systems and erosion mitigation measures such as near-shore breakwaters and groynes operating in the Maldives. The waste management infrastructure’s location within close proximity to the coastline makes it highly vulnerable to sea level rise and storm conditions. 90% of the islands have their waste disposal sites within 100m of the coastline and on the ocean-ward side of the island, and although this is a serious issue in regards to sea-level rise, pollution and protection of biodiversity resources, the geography leaves few alternatives. Pollution from uncontrolled waste disposal and untreated sewage are major threats to the biodiversity of the Maldives. Considering the country's reliance on tourism as a key economic sector, and tourism industry’s reliance on environmental health to operate and be profitable, the challenge of waste management is a key vulnerability for that sector and for the country as a whole. One waste management trend has been open burning of waste to reduce volume, which, owing to the lack of other disposal options, has become widely common in the Maldives, though it raises challenges for maintaining air quality.

AIMS Regional Synthesis Report for the Five Year Review of Mauritius Strategy for Further Implementation of the Barbados Programme of Action for Sustainable Development in SIDS (MSI+5)
Maldives National Adaptation Program of Action (NAPA)

Coastal and Marine Resources

In 2010, the Maldives Ministry of Housing and Environment presented its Fourth National Report to the Convention on Biological Diversity (NBSAP) to the Commission on Biological Diversity.

At present, the total beach area is estimated at 13 km, or 5% of the total land area of the Maldives, and the coastline is estimated to be 2,300km long. Coastal ecosystems include mangroves, swamps, sea grass, coral and open ocean ecosystems. The small size of the islands forces people to live next to the sea, with more than 50% of housing structures on 121 islands being within 100m of coastline and 42% of the population living within 100 meters of the coastline. Beach erosion is a major issue and was evident on 97% of the Maldives' 1,190 islands in 2004. Although coastal erosion is a natural process due to the dynamic and unstable nature of Maldives beaches, it is exacerbated by human activities. Due to the high level of tourist development in coastal areas, it is likely that further erosion will have a significant economic effect on the operation of the tourism industry. Coral reefs have a critical coastal protection function, yet there have been a number of anthropogenic stresses on the reef system such as coral mining, reef entrance blasting, dredging, solid waste disposal and sewage disposal that has affected the health, integrity and productivity of reefs. The economy of the Maldives is also heavily reliant on coastal resources through tourism as well as fisheries, which are the largest contributor to exports and contribute about 7% to GDP, with more than 20% of the population dependent on fisheries as the major income-earning activity. 70% of all fisheries infrastructure is within 100m of the coastline, and proximity to the beach is considered an advantage despite the likely negative economic impact on future sea level rise. The preservation of coral reefs is also a priority due to their role in buffering beaches against wave action and other oceanic forces.

Maldives National Adaptation Program of Action (NAPA)
Fourth National Report to the Convention on Biological Diversity (NBSAP)

Freshwater Resources

The Maldives' Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible for the implementation of Government policy and is responsible for regulating the production, use, import, export and sale of water, the development of water standards and guidelines for waste water, the development of strategies for wastewater service industries, and for scientific research on water resources.

In the case of the Maldives, no significant changes in long term trends due to climate change are evident in the observed daily, monthly, or annual rainfall levels, nor in the maximum daily rainfall levels. However, it is predicted that extreme rainfall will become more common by 2050. Due to the absence of large freshwater bodies to support the ecosystem, there are only a few mangroves and swamps on some islands and what is present is not well-developed. Additionally, salt water has intruded into ground water resources.

Fourth National Report to the Convention on Biological Diversity, 2010
Strategic National Action Plan for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation 2010-2020

Land Resources

The Government of the Maldives completed an Agriculture Master Plan in 2009, covering the period 2006-2020 and aiming to increase food security through agricultural development based on the Vision 2020 plan, which pursues sustainable development objectives. Land resources are also addressed within the Maldives National Strategy for Sustainable Development report, submitted to UNEP in 2009.

The Maldives is the sixth smallest sovereign state in terms of land area, with total land area estimated to be approximately 235 square kilometers. This land is comprised of approximately 1,192 coral islands, and 96% of those islands are less than 1 square kilometer in area. Only 10 islands are more than 2.5 square kilometers. Land is highly scarce and the 358 islands that are currently in use account for just 176 square kilometers. Over 80% of the total land area of the Maldives is less than 1 meter above sea level. Adding to this, land access difficulties have increased with the population of the country, which has quadrupled since 1911. Already 34 of the inhabited islands do not have additional land for new housing and another 17 islands will reach their carrying capacity by 2015. Land reclamation work has been carried out to alleviate population pressures on the land, but reclamation has its own environmental drawbacks. The average width of inhabited islands is 566 meters, with the result that most infrastructures are built within 233 meters from the coastline. Agriculture plays a minor role in the economy, contributing only 2.8% to GDP in 2000 due to the lack of land resources, which also exacerbates the issue of food security. Though the climate of the Maldives provides ideal conditions for the luxuriant growth of tropical trees and shrubs, other factors such as high salinity, the highly calcareous nature of soils and salt-laden winds create harsh environmental conditions.

Maldives National Adaptation Program of Action (NAPA)
Maldives National Strategy for Sustainable Development (NSDS)

Energy Resources

The Maldives Government is planning a forthcoming National Energy Policy and Strategy.

In both inhabited islands and resorts, 80% of powerhouses are located within 100 meters of coastline. With the projected effects of climate change, this puts energy resources directly in the path of projected sea-level rise. Due to the small size of the islands and their maximum elevation of 1.5 meters above sea level, this infrastructure vulnerability is likely to worsen through time. Energy remains a subsidized sector of the economy, with price interventions on oil imports and energy subsidies to consumers. Although there are plans for a subsidy regime for renewable energy projects, this has not yet been implemented. Currently, the Maldives is entirely dependent on imports of fossil fuels to meet it energy needs. The future National Energy Policy and Strategy aims to address this dependency through renewable and other low-carbon technologies.

Strategic National Action Plan for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation 2010-2020
Fourth National Report to the Convention on Biological Diversity, 2010

Tourism

The Third Tourism Master Plan (2007-2011) was developed by the Government of the Maldives with the support of UNWTO.

In the Maldives, development activities are mainly centred upon the tourism industry and its complementary service sectors. The tourism sector is one of the largest employers in the country and contributes about a third of the Maldives’ annual GDP, indirectly contributing to many sectors. The number of tourists visiting the Maldives annually nearly tripled from 1992 to 2007, reaching 676,000 visitors. It is a very fragile industry, however, and could significantly degrade the environment on which it is so dependent if not properly planned and managed. Over-development of tourism in particular areas could be environmentally and culturally disruptive and detrimental to other valuable sectors. Intensive tourism is contributing to damage to the coral reef habitat through pollution from boats, hotels and other infrastructure and by excessive walking on coral or its removal for souvenirs. More than 90% of all resort infrastructure and 99% of all tourist accommodation are within 100 meters of coastline, making the industry highly vulnerable to sea-level rise, and 50% or resorts report soil erosion on their properties. The tourism sector is reliant on climate conditions and biodiversity to remain marketable, and climate change threatens the industry's viability and profitability. As most tourists come to the Maldives to dive or snorkel, any damage to reefs through natural disasters, sea-temperature warming or human-induced environmental degradation will directly affect the profitability of the industry.

AIMS Regional Synthesis Report for the Five Year Review of Mauritius Strategy for Further Implementation of the Barbados Programme of Action for Sustainable Development in SIDS (MSI+5)

Biodiversity

In 2010, the Maldives Ministry of Housing and Environment presented their Fourth National Report to the Convention on Biological Diversity (NBSAP) to the Commission on Biological Diversity. The Maldives also follows a Third National Environmental Action Plan (NEAPIII). These strategies have aimed to integrate biodiversity issues into national and sector plans and policies.

Although the Maldives boasts rich and diverse marine and terrestrial biological diversity, comprehensive studies of these resources have not been made. The reef ecosystems of the Maldives are the seventh largest in the world and their diversity is amongst the richest worldwide, accounting for 5% of the world’s reef areas. The islands are made up of coral sand, but terrestrial biodiversity is limited, though varied, due to the small size of the islands. The major threats to biodiversity include climate change, coral bleaching, habitat modification, pollution from anthropogenic sources and over-exploitation of natural resources. The Government of the Maldives is aware of the pressure on biodiversity resources and has been proactive in introducing policies such as bans on turtle fishing, shark fishing, and coral mining. The Maldives government has instituted 33 Environmental Protection Areas, of which 28 are Marine Protection Areas. Integration of biodiversity protection into national sustainable development strategies – such as through the Atoll Eco-Based Conservation Project (AEC) – has also been developed. Ornamental plant varieties, various bird species, vegetable plant species and various pests have been introduced, but very little information is available on the effects of these introductions due to the weakness of regulations and lack of capacity to control and monitor those plants that are being imported.

Fourth National Report to the Convention on Biological Diversity, 2010
Country Strategies: 
Title Programme Name Programme Description Year
Disaster management Strategy - Maldives Strategic National Action Plan for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaption 2010-2020 2009
PRSP - Maldives Maldives: Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper Strategy Description 2008
UNFCCC Nat Comm - Maldives First national communication of the Republic of Maldives to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Strategy Description 2001
NAPA - Maldives National Adaption Program of Action Strategy Description 2008
NBSAP - Maldives Fourth National Report to the Convention on Biological Diversity Strategy Description 2010
NSDS - Maldives Maldives National Strategy for Sustainable Development Strategy Description 2009
10 Dec 2011 | SIDS Policy and Practice
14 January 2011: The first session of the Intergovernmental Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) for the Fourth UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC IV) took place from 10-14 January 2011, at UN Headquarters in New York, US. LDC IV will take place in Istanbul, Turkey, from 9-13 May 2011. Cheick Sidi Diarra, Under-Secretary-General, Special Adviser on Africa and High Representative for LDCs, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (SIDS), addressed the...
10 Dec 2011 | SIDS Policy and Practice
January 2011: The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has announced that it is providing technical assistance to the Maldives following the country’s removal from the UN list of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) on 1 January 2011. The UN took the Maldives off the LDC list after finding that its estimated gross national income (GNI) per capita in 2009 was three times over the graduation threshold, due mainly to growth in the tourism sector. The Maldives nevertheless remains one...
10 Dec 2011 | SIDS Policy and Practice
2 February 2011: The Board of the Adaptation Fund has released the report of its 12th meeting, which convened from 14-15 December 2010, in Cancun, Mexico. The meeting also included the third meetings of the Project and Programme Review Committee and the Ethics and Finance Committee of the Adaptation Fund Board. At the meeting, the Chair described intersessional activities. The Secretariat reported on its activities, including changes in the membership of the Board and screening of applications...
External Resources: 
Title Programme Description Year
Office of the President of Maldives
Invest Maldives: the government agency entrusted with promoting, regulating and licensing foreign investments in the country
Maldives Department of Information in the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, and Culture
National focal point for sustainable development: 
Ministry of Environment and Energy
email. secretariat@environment.gov.mv
Tel: +(960) 301 8300, Fax: +(960) 301 8301