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Vice President speaks at the Australian National Carbon Conference

Vice President Dr Mohamed Waheed has today delivered a keynote address at the Australian National Carbon Conference which is being held on the 27th and 28th of August in Brisbane, Queensland.

In his address, Dr Waheed said that the government believed that a responsible leadership required “that we leave to our children a legacy that is better than the one we inherited”.

He also said that we must do everything possible to stop global warming not because it is good for the economy or politics, but because it is the right thing.

“We are encouraged by the emergence of new and enlightened leadership – from your very own Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to President Barrack Obama in the USA – who have been elected with a clear mandate on changing the direction. We remain optimistic that with the assistance of such leaders we will broker a deal in Copenhagen”, said Dr Waheed.

Vice President Dr Waheed said that for the past twenty years the people of the Maldives have been struggling to achieve basic human rights such as s freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and the right to form political parties.

However, he said, the people of Maldives finally obtained basic freedoms only to find out that the struggle for human rights have to be extended now to the right to survival and the right to nationhood linked to climate change.

Highlighting that the most pressing issue faced by the government was coastal erosion, the Vice President said adaptation to climate change has become the most urgent development need for many Maldivians.

Speaking in this regard, Dr Waheed said that the Maldives has now set the goal to become carbon neutral by 2020.

“We realise that transition to a low carbon economy will take a few years and that is why we must begin embedding clean energy in existing infrastructure at the outset and to launch a vigorous programme on energy efficiency” said Dr Waheed.

Underlining the policies of the government to achieve carbon neutrality, Dr Waheed said during the course of this conference the government would be looking at how a carbon trading regime for the industry in the Maldives could be established, along with the establishment of a national environment friendly accreditation system that will promote greater competition among resorts for eco-tourism.

Concluding his address, Dr Waheed said the Maldives’ approach to climate change is very different from many other developing countries.

“We have never been part of the problem, but we want to be part of the solution. We will make Maldives carbon neutral island by island and resort by resort. We would like to invite you to join us”, said Dr Waheed.

Source: The President’s Office Website

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