UNDP supports World Environment Day Celebrations
This year’s World Environment Day celebrations kicked off with a series of events. One of the most significant event was the ‘One Nation Coral Revival’ event—the largest turquoise fest in the country. The two-day coral revival event was organized by local NGO Save the Beach in Villimale which centred on replanting corals that had been rescued from a reef called Uthuru Thila Falhu.
The event featured live music, feature presentations on main stage, an awareness tent, water sports and children’s activities in tents set up by participants that focused on creating awareness around the country’s fragile ecosystem and natural environment centred around this year’s global theme—Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care.
As part of the event, UNDP set up a stall at one of the tents and showcased environmental initiatives carried under its Tourism Adaptation Project (TAP) funded by Global Environment Facility (GEF), , Mangroves for the Future (MFF) Small Grants Facility, GEF Small Grants Programme and the Low Emission Carbon Resilient Development (LECReD) Programme. The stall also offered visitors with the opportunity to take part in unique activities and information.
A group of volunteers from Villa International High School (VIHS) joined the UNDP team in setting up the tents and engaged with visitors through cross-word puzzles and quizzes specifically designed to create awareness on key environmental issues. A photo-booth was also set up that allowed visitors to take pictures holding placards with pledges and key messages that reflected on this year’s global theme for the World Environment Day.
UNDP also organized the first-ever Nature Walk – a tour around the island of Villimale that provided information and historical significance of some fifty different plant species found in the island. UNDP’s team had identified the English, local and scientific names of these plants and had placed permanent labels in each of the fifty plant species.
During the opening ceremony of the celebrations, the Minister of Enviroment, Thoriq Ibrahim spoke about the importance of conserving the environment and congratulated the organizing team for taking the initiative in organizing the event.
In addition, the Minister of Tourism, Ahmed Adeeb spoke on the individual responsibilities of all people in conserving the country’s environment and natural beauty describing the country’s rich ecology as the single greatest asset to the economy.
UNDP also supported a photography competition and a photo exhibition was also organized by the Ministry of Environment and the Maldives Photography Association. Participants of the competition submitted over a hundred different photos around key environmental themes including Environment and Sustainable Development, Environmental Impacts, Culture through Biodiversity and Environment and the Human. The photos were showcased in the photo exhibition.
UNDP also led a social media campaign under the hashtag #mv4env to raise awareness around conservation which featured key messages, facts and updates on local and global events taking place as part of the celebrations.
Writing in her Op-Ed article on the day, Living with Water, UNDP Resident Representative, Ms. Shoko Noda, wrote about the need to increase the country’s resilience to natural disasters and the longer term impacts of climate change. She noted on the importance of coming up with innovative approaches and localised solutions to tackle the issue.
“The water related challenges predicted worldwide are a reality for the Maldives already. The good news is, we have started employing innovative solutions that fit our current and future needs. The protection and sustainable use of the most important natural resource for life should be a priority for us all,” she wrote.
World Environment Day is celebrated on 5th June every year by United Nations to encourage worldwide awareness and action for the environment. Over the years it has grown to be a broad, global platform for public outreach that is widely celebrated in over 100 countries. It also serves as a ‘people’s day’ for doing something positive for the environment, galvanizing individual actions into a collective power that generates an exponential positive impact on the planet.