‘Economic growth must occur with ocean-friendly practices’ - Pres Solih

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has stated that economic growth can and must occur in harmony with ocean-friendly practices.

The President made the remarks speaking at the signing of a partnership between the Maldives and Blue Prosperity Coalition—a global network of ocean experts working to advance ocean protection and grow Blue Economies.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Maldives and Blue Prosperity Coalition as part of the President’s visit to New York to attend the 74th Annual Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid signed the agreement on behalf of the Maldives, and the Founder and Chairman of the Waitt Foundation, Mr. Ted Waitt signed the agreement on behalf of the Blue Prosperity Coalition.

Applauding the work of the coalition towards safeguarding the oceans, President Solih stressed that the core values and principles of the coalition resonate with those of the Maldives.

The President emphasized that urgent action is crucial to protect the oceans. He further stated that economic growth should occur in harmony with ocean-friendly practices and that comprehensive scientific research and analysis is required to understand such practices best.

Under the agreement, the Government of Maldives and Blue Prosperity Coalition will devise a program to ensure the long-term sustainability of all Maldivian waters and thriving marine environment. This includes territorial seas, archipelagic seas and the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

It will also promote the advancement of Maldivian ocean science and stewardship through research, education, capacity building and outreach, including collaborating with and providing support to local scientists and civil society.

As part of the six-year-long program formulated under the agreement, the Government aspires to:

- Declare at least 20 per cent of Maldives’ waters as protected areas.
- Promote regional engagement for strengthening Maldives’ position in managing shared Indian Ocean tuna stocks.
- Develop a program focused on advancing blue economy activities.
- Ensure sustainable ocean management.
- Support compliance and enforcement in its waters.
- Improve public and private sustainable finance mechanisms for ocean management.

Highlighting that collaborative marine scientific research would help the Maldives better implement measures for sustainable ocean government, President Solih further expressed hope of beginning this work with Blue Prosperity Coalition. He further expressed his confidence that this is the beginning of a long and productive partnership.

“For us, protecting the ocean’s health is an issue linked to our national security,” he added.