Last Updated: Tue Nov 02, 2010 21:06 pm (KSA) 18:06 pm (GMT)

Maldives govt speaks to world from underwater

The Maldives Presidency, Fisheries and Agriculture Minister Ibrahim Didi signs the decree of the underwater cabinet meeting off Girifushi Island
The Maldives Presidency, Fisheries and Agriculture Minister Ibrahim Didi signs the decree of the underwater cabinet meeting off Girifushi Island

The government of the Maldives held its weekly cabinet meeting on Saturday underwater to attract international attention to the dangers the country of low lying islands faces from global warming.

President Mohamed Nasheed, dressed in full scuba gear, is to conduct the 30 minute meeting at a depth of six meters (20 feet) just north of the capital Male from 0500 GMT, event coordinator Aminath Shauna said.

Most of the island nation, a tourist paradise featuring coral reefs and white sand beaches, lies less than one meter (3.3 feet) above sea level and scientists have warned it could be uninhabitable in less than 100 years.

Shauna said the ministers had already signed their wetsuits, which would be auctioned on the protectmaldives.com website, due to be launched later Saturday, to raise money for coral reef protection in the atoll-chain.

The government has arranged a horseshoe-shaped table on the seabed for the ministers, who will communicate using white boards and hand signals.

A desk and chairs stand underwater for Maldives cabinet meet

The Divers Association of Maldives (DAM) said the ministers, who had trained over the past two months, felt confident about the unprecedented meeting.

Of the 14-member cabinet, three ministers will not take part in the dive, two of whom have medical conditions while the third was currently in Europe.

The Maldives, located southwest of Sri Lanka, has become a vocal campaigner in the battle to halt rising sea levels.

In 2007, the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that a rise in sea levels of 18 to 59 centimeters (seven to 24 inches) by 2100 would be enough to make the country virtually uninhabitable.

Comments »

Post Your Comment »

Social Media »