The Government of Maldives was proud to kick off the NooRaajje programme tonight, at an official launching broadcast on state media channel, PSM. This programme is an exciting partnership between the Government and the Blue Prosperity Coalition, consisting of five years’ worth of projects to gain deeper scientific knowledge of the Maldives ocean, while building up Maldivians’ capacity to conserve their marine ecosystems.
The launching event featured remarks by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih; Minister of Fisheries, Marine Resources and Agriculture, Zaha Waheed; Minister of Economic Development, Uz. Fayyaz Ismail; and Hana Amir, a lead marine biologist at the Maldives Marine Research Institute (MMRI).
In his remarks the President emphasised the fact that 98 per cent of the Maldives’ territory is ocean, and highlighted our dependence on it for our livelihoods and economy. That is why, the President remarked, he entered the Maldives into a partnership with the Blue Prosperity Coalition, a group of organisations working to promote blue economies through sustainable ocean governance methods, during his visit to New York in September 2019, to attend the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). The President reiterated that implementing a Blue Economy that balances economic prosperity with environmental sustainability is a key pledge of this Administration.
The NooRaajje programme will run from 2020 through 2024, and comprise of scientific expeditions into the Maldives’ ocean spaces, shaping policy on the proper use of marine resources, and consultations with communities to devise better means of protecting the Maldives’ marine ecosystems. Among key aims, the programme will help the Government implement a legally binding Maritime Spatial Plan spanning the Maldives ‘Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ); and advance efforts to designate at least 20 per cent of the Maldives’ ocean as protected areas.
The video statements were followed by a panel discussion featuring Fisheries Minister, Zaha Waheed; Hana Amir, marine biologist at MMRI; Moosa Zameer Hassan, programme coordinator for NooRaajje; Dr Katheryn Mengerink, Executive Director at the Waitt Institute, a leading Blue Prosperity Coalition partner, founded by American businessman Theodore W ‘Ted’ Waitt; and Dr Angus Friday, Blue Economy Director at the Waitt institute. The panel outlined details on the programme’s components and intended outcomes, and clarified public queries regarding the programme during a Q&A segment.