Saturday, January 19, 2019

Letter to President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, Maldives

Dear President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih,


We at Mangrove Action Project would like to congratulate you on your election as the president of the Maldives! Also, congratulations on your decision to adopt the “Jazeeraa Raaje” manifesto. We welcome the decision to make sustainability of the Maldivian archipelago the basis of the manifesto, which is implied by the name of the campaign itself.


I am the Co-founder of MAP and its program director. MAP is a non-profit, non-governmental organization (NGO) working worldwide to conserve and restore our planet’s now threatened mangrove forest wetlands. MAP was founded in 1992 and now has over 450 NGOs and 300 mangrove scientists involved in our network. For several months now, MAP has been involved in the #SaveKulhudhuffushi campaign.


It is therefore with great regret that MAP takes note that you had during your campaign for the presidency announced the decision to continue building the Kulhudhuffushi airport if you were elected. And tragically, one month into your Presidency, it appears that the destruction of the primary mangrove forests and associate ecosystems in Kuhudhussuhi is continuing. The development project is continuing without fulfilling the many conditions of the Decision Note for the project. The letter sent by MEE to regional airports highlighting this is the testimony that the airport developers are failing to abide by the conditions of the stated intent of the manifesto.


MAP is equally worried about the impacts dredging and sedimentation have had on the Farukolhu Mangrove in Sh. Funadhoo, which is now a protected site due to its environmental significance. (The site was declared protected during the last few weeks of the prior administration). Photographic evidence during the Farukolhu airport project showed sediments widely spreading around the Farukolhu area and open mangrove due to dredging activity.


It is with equal worry that MAP has learned of several mangrove and associate wetland ecosystems in N. Maafaru have also been fully decimated during the airport construction on this island. One of the wetlands has suffered massively during tree removal and relocation (#MVTreeGrab) to tourist resorts. Since the “tree grab” issue is widespread and continuing, we are quite concerned similar threats will endanger other mangroves and wetlands.


We also would like to express deep concern over your plans to build more airports while consolidating a heavy infrastructure-oriented budget. If mitigation measures are not taken soon, several additional Maldivian mangrove ecosystems are likely to be at risk from these projects.


In ending, we would like to congratulate your administration on starting work on conservation of mangrove ecosystems in H.Dh Neykurandhoo, Ha, Baarah and HDh.Keylakunu. We simply must urge you to extend this new conservation work to other regions. Please contact me if you would like to discuss these points further. We at MAP are ready to offer our 27 years of expertise to help advise your administration on these issues!


Please see the attached letter we co-signed that appeared this week in Science!


For the Mangroves And the Mangrove Communities!


Alfredo Quarto,
International Program & Policy Director
Mangrove Action Project
PO Box 1854
Port Angeles, WA 98362
360-452-5866
www.mangroveactionproject.org

CC: Dr. Hussain Rasheed Hassan, Minister of Environment
ps.unit@environment.gov.mv, hrhassan@gmail.com

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