The first PROMISE policy roundtable of the Maldives was held on Tuesday, 22nd March 2022. This is part of the series of policy roundtable meetings planned under the project with the aim to discuss and prototype solutions to reduce marine litter.
His Excellency Mr. Faisal Naseem, Vice President of the Republic of Maldives inaugurated the meeting. In his speech, he reiterated that the government will continue supporting innovative environmental initiatives that would transition to a more ocean-friendly, community-led blue economy prioritizing sustainable use of the ocean resources. The Minister of Environment, Climate Change, and Technology, Her Excellency Ms. Aminath Shauna in her speech elaborated on the government’s effort to reduce plastic in the Maldives. The keynote speech for the roundtable meeting was delivered by Mrs. Jenny Correia Nunes, Head of Cooperation of the Delegation of the European Union to Sri Lanka and the Maldives. In her speech, she has indicated that “the transition towards a circular economy for plastics will require research and innovation, financial means and capacity building. It will also require new laws and global ambitions, and a variety of stakeholders, including the private sector, academia, and civil society. I see all this coming together under the EU SWITCH-Asia PROMISE Project”.
The first meeting focusing on policy gaps and challenges was attended by around 30 stakeholder representatives working on waste management and marine litter prevention. This included Government bodies, Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Technology, Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Fisheries, Marine Resources and Agriculture, Ministry of Transport, Environmental Protection Agency, Maldives Customs, Tourism associations, NGOs, academia, and international development organizations. Mr. Paolo Facco, Advisor from adelphi, Germany facilitated the working sessions of the meeting along with Ms. Nafha Asim, Ms. Risha Ali, and Dr. Shazla Mohamed. Dr. Abdulla Nazeer, project manager from The Maldives National University, and Mr. Hamdun Hameed from Parley Maldives provided information on the policy insights of the Maldives in relation to marine litter prevention.
Overall four major challenges were identified in the implementation of marine litter policies as follows: lack of coordination between government authorities and committees; lack of waste management infrastructure; lack of policies and monitoring mechanisms; and lack of awareness and capacity building. Participants were distributed to four separate groups based on the challenges identified and discussions continued to Challenge Detailing, Actors Mapping, and Potential Solutions Brainstorming.
The outcomes of the discussions were presented by each group at the end of the sessions. This was followed by deliberation on the next steps and a feedback session. The second policy roundtable meeting scheduled for June 2022 will attempt to prototype solutions for the challenges identified for the Maldives.