President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has called the international community to be more respectful towards nature and to heed a key lesson of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He made these remarks while speaking at the United Nations Biodiversity Summit last night.

President Solih said that Covid-19 is a zoonotic disease to which humanity was exposed by its continued disrespect for nature's boundaries.

He expressed his conviction that if we do not do right by our earth and become better stewards of nature's gifts, we will face similar and possibly worse consequences in the future.

At the Summit, the President highlighted that the Maldives takes its climate commitments seriously and that it will continue to engage with our global partners to preserve biodiversity and address the climate emergency.

He also shed light on the Maldives’ ongoing partnership with the Blue Prosperity Coalition, a global alliance of ocean experts dedicated to growing blue economies and preserving the ocean’s health. The Maldives has been working with the coalition to conduct scientific expeditions that will inform our blue economic policies and maritime spatial plans going forward so that our development occurs without compromising our natural assets.

President Solih emphasized that the Maldives is deeply concerned by plastic pollution, especially in the ocean. He cited the alarming fact that over 8 million tonnes of plastic end up in the ocean every year.

He said that such concerns are what led the Maldives to become a founder and co-chair of the Group of Friends to Combat Marine Plastic Pollution, and why his Administration is committed to delivering on its pledge to phase out single-use plastic by the year 2023.