Vice President Faisal Naseem stressed on Tuesday the importance of asserting the urgency and seriousness that climate change deserves to protect the planet's most vulnerable places and communities. He made the statement while speaking at the high-level roundtable on "Climate Change and Sustainability of Vulnerable Communities," held as part of the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.

Addressing the debate, the Vice President stressed that the world's most vulnerable countries are at the frontlines of the climate crisis and at the greatest risk of losing lives and livelihoods. "We need to change the narrative. We cannot be going about business as usual," he added.

Shedding light on the recent flooding in Pakistan that affected 33 million people and destroyed 1.7 million homes, the Vice President warned that similar events would likely become more frequent as global temperatures continue to rise. Noting that food and water security, human health, and biodiversity will be drastically affected even in a 1.5-degree world, he underscored the need to address such transboundary issues with a global response and drastically scale up finance and action.

"For many countries, loss and damage is already a reality and will become more so the slower we act on mitigation and adaptation," he warned. "One very troubling example for Maldives concerns coral reefs, the source of so much of our culture and livelihood."

Citing predictions by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that global warming of 1.5°C will result in the disappearance of between 70 and 90 per cent of coral reefs, the Vice President stressed that it would have detrimental effects on the Maldives in terms of jobs, tourism, fisheries, and the loss of entire ecosystems.

Before the debate, the Vice President visited the pavilions at the Sharm El-Sheikh International Convention Center and met with a Maldivian student from Hira School who was attending COP27.