Giving a major boost to the Maldives’ aim of going carbon neutral by 2020, the UNDP will fund US$ 3.3 million to help the tourism sector adapt to climate change.
The Ministry of Tourism and UNDP signed the deal on Wednesday for the project that will help develop environmentally friendly infrastructure, energy efficient building and practices, flood-proofing, waste water management, diversifying energy sources among many others.
The project will develop and plan codes for new resorts while also helping the Ministry of Tourism to develop its own regulations along with the tourism industry on dealing with climate change.
There is “great deal of variety on how resorts handle issues of climate change” while some have the issue as its focus some others do not, according to UN Resident Representative Andrew Cox.
The archipelago consisting 1,192 islands of which nearly 200 are inhabited stand on average 1.5 meters high from the sea level, making them highly vulnerable to global warming and rising sea levels.
The project will also establish at least 10 community-based adaptation projects between tourism related communities and the industry.
According to Cox it will help “ease the tensions between communities and resorts that we often hear” paving the way for common responsibility.
“What is good for a resort can be good for the island next to it. Rather than have a charity relationship between resorts and local islands, we want to try to build stronger partnerships,” he said.
The tourism sector in the Maldives accounting for nearly 30 percent of the economy is considered its backbone.
But concerns have been raised over the stability of the industry given the country’s vulnerability to climate change.