Maldives president warns of resource conflicts


New Delhi : Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed Friday warned that unchecked global warming could lead to conflicts over resources and called for transfer of capital and technology from developed to developing countries for an equitable solution to climate change.

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Climate change will lead to scarcity of resources that in turn will lead to conflicts over resources in the future, Nasheed said in a lecture at the Observer Research Foundation, a public policy think tank.

Climate change can be seen as a serious sparking point for various conflicts, he said while calling for a breakthrough in technologies to mitigate the impact of climate change.

Nasheed also called for the transfer of funds from developed to developing countries to enable the latter to make a cost-effective transition to green technologies without compromising their development.

The Maldives president, who recently held an underwater climate cabinet meeting to highlight the danger of global warming, envisaged a pivotal role for India in the ongoing climate change negotiations ahead of the Copenhagen summit in December that seeks to find a successor to the Kyoto protocol.

Shyam Saran, the prime minister’s special envoy on climate change, agreed with Nasheed and pressed for more inter-state cooperation to find a solution to climate change. “We all have to work together to find a solution. We believe a solution can be found,” he said.

Nasheed also made an impassioned plea for bringing the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere down to 350 parts per million from the present 387.

In his weekly radio address, aired Friday morning on the Voice of Maldives, Nasheed, who is currently on a five-day visit to India, said Indian companies are keen to invest in the Maldives, more specifically in the northern region of the country.

He said he he was very confident that an Indian company would invest in upgrading the Hanimaadhoo airport to an international airport.

Alluding to ties with India, Nasheed said India was also ready to assist the Maldivian government in alleviating its dollar shortage. During his discussions, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had assured Indian assistance in the Maldives’ effort to seek funds from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to address budget deficit and restructuring the public sector, he said.

Earlier this year, the Indian government provided $100 million credit facility to assist the Maldives meet budget difficulties.

The Maldives, located southwest of Sri Lanka, is barely 1.5 metres above sea level and faces the prospect of extinction from rising sea level rise triggered by global warming.