Addu City, along with Fuvahmulah City has been declared a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural (UNESCO) Biosphere Reserve.
Both Addu City and Fuvahmulah City were declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve during a meeting of the International Coordinating Council of UNESCO Man and the Biosphere (MAB) program. The heads of the ministry along with the council members and people of Addu City and Fuvamulah took part in the meeting.
Biosphere Reserve is a title given by UNESCO in order to promote solutions reconciling the conservation of biodiversity with its sustainable use. Aspects such as sustainability in development, culture and heritage, education and talents are taken into account while granting the title. Prior to this, the only place in Maldives having received the title is Baa Atoll. Upon Addu City and Fuvamulah being declared as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, Maldives now has three atolls with this title.
President Ibrahim Solih made the decision to nominate both Addu City and Fuvamulah City as UNESCO Biosphere Reserves on 17th September 2019 after discussing at a cabinet meeting. Ministry of Environment further took on the task of conducting necessary surveys and gathering endorsements before handing over the proposal to the UNESCO on 30th September 2019.
Biosphere Reserves are chosen after taking into account the ways in which the local people can sustain the region as well as how the region can benefit them. There are 669 UNESCO Biosphere Reserves in 120 countries across the world.
According to the Ministry of Environment, Addu City and Fuvamulah City received the title as both the atolls have several locations where the nature shows its best side, and that many developmental initiatives have been taken in both the cities. The Ministry further stated that both Addu City and Fuvamulah has a number of beautiful locations which can be sustained while developing the cities, helping the environment towards a sustainable future.
Moreover, declaration of Addu City and Fuvamulah as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve will benefit the economy as well as provide more opportunities to develop talents. Ministry of Environment also stated that the chances of receiving aid for a sustainable development of these regions will be more now than ever.
UNESCO Biosphere Reserves aim at protecting and sustaining the areas in an atoll, ecosystems as well as living things while protecting the culture and heritage of the area along with significant locations, paving way it’s to sustainable development. In addition to that, conservation and sustainable development education and trainings will be provided after researching for the development of public, private and other sectors.
The title of UNESCO Biosphere Reserve is an international title granted for a duration of 10 years. Therefore, the government along with the public must ensure the maintenance of the prestigious title. Even though Addu City and Fuvamulah City received the title, Ministry of Environment advised in carrying out development works across the country in such a way that the nature is not harmed.