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Maldives

'All People Want to Do Is Live Their Lives'

Elizabeth Howton's picture

"All people want to do is live their lives." Dr. Suneeta Singh made that simple yet powerful statement during a panel discussion on “Empowering Gender Minorities in South Asia” on March 14, 2012 at the World Bank. Singh, a former Bank staffer and CEO of consulting firm Amaltas, spoke via videoconference from Delhi, India, while Nepal’s first openly gay elected official, Sunil Babu Pant, dialed in from Kathmandu.World Bank panel discussion on gender indentity in South Asia

Pant told the story of how he built a grassroots movement of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered (GLBT) people in Nepal, beginning in 2001. A turning point was in 2007, when the Supreme Court ruled that gay and transgendered people “are natural” and mandated certain benefits and an end to discriminatory laws. Today, the country is drafting a new constitution, and Pant said that if passed, it will be one of the most progressive in the world with regard to the rights of sexual and gender minorities.

Maldives DM2009 Finalist Seeks World Bank Help

Fathimath Shafeeqa's picture

The Maldivian Government has received a US$6.3 million grant for climate change adaptation from the European Commssion.  The grant will be administered by the World Bank.  I hope the Bank will inform the Maldivian Finance MInistry, which is handling the funds, about the adaptation work that Live & Learn/Maldives is doing to help protect this especially vulnerable island nation from the adverse affects of climate change -- principally rising sea levels.

As Country Manager of Live & Learn's environmental education operations in the Maldives, one of the 43 Least Developed Countries that have submitted National Adaptation Programs of Action to cope with climate change. I know first hand what our non-profit, non-government organization is doing.  With our expertise and community connections, we can help the Government achieve its adaptation objectives.  Live & Learn/Maldives was a DM finalist with its project to "increase the quality and quantity of local food production, using new techniques resilient to increasing groundwater salinity" caused by rising sea waters.  Innovative Gardening and Education would promote women as leaders in building a sustainable community network spreading the message of "no-till" resilient food production that combats encroaching salinity.

Effective climate adaptation in the Maldives depends on collaboration between the Government and NGOs like Live & Learn.  That isn't happening yet.   DM NGO finalists in other countries are reporting similar problems, as this blog has reported.

What DM Finalist in Threatened Maldives Needs

Tom Grubisich's picture

One of the countries most threatened by climate change is the Maldives, the group of South Asian islands that are coping with the rising waters of the Indian Ocean.  One of the finalists in DM2009 was Innovative Gardening and Education to Adapt to Climate Change in the Maldives.  The Live & Learn project aims to "increase the quality and quantity of local food production, using new techniques resilient to increasing groundwater salinity" caused by the rising waters.  Innovative Gardening and Education would promote women as leaders in building a sustainable community network spreading the message of "no-till" resilient food production that combats encroaching salinity.  In this mini-interview Fathimath Shafeeqa, Country Manager of Live & Learn's environmental education operations in the Maldives, talks about climate adaptation in her country, the national government's relationship with civil society, and what she and other DM2009 finalists who didn't win at the competition need to move closer to success -- in particular, from the World Bank:

Q. Is your country in its adaptation program doing enough to develop capacity -- knowledge and learning -- among government and civil society organizations?

A. Not yet, but the government is still discussing adaptation measures.

Q. Is the national government really listening to local communities in preparing adaptation plans and strategies?

A. new government is in place and trying to decentralise a lot of the decision making.

Q. Since you returned from DM2009, do you plan to work with government so that your project might be incorporated in national adaptation efforts?

A. Trying very much to discuss with the respective government agencies. No luck as yet. However, if the World Bank decides to send a letter of acknowledgement re the finalists to the Finance Ministry of the respective countries, the process would be much faster.