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World`s first underwater cabinet meet tomorrow

Last Updated: Friday, October 16, 2009 - 15:12

Colombo: The world`s first underwater cabinet meeting gets underway tomorrow when Maldives ministers would meet at the bottom of the sea to highlight the dangers posed by global warming to their picturesque archipelago.

A horse-shoe shaped table has been immersed in the blue
waters off the Girifushi island, about 35 nautical miles from
capital Male, where President Mohamed Nasheed will preside
over his cabinet.

The ministers dressed in scuba suits would arrive by
speed boats to the island and then dive to the cabinet
rendezvous.

They would be using white boards and hand signals to
communicate their decisions at the under-sea meet. All the
ministers have been undergoing diving courses and the final
rehearsals were held today.

The Maldivian ministers are going to these extraordinary
lengths as a UN panel on climate change had warned that even a
rise of sea levels between 18 to 60 cm would submerge the
islands by 2100.

Maldives comprises of more than 100 islands scattered
over an area of 800 kms across the equator, and 90 per cent
are just one metre above sea level.

While his ministers had to take diving lessons, President
Nasheed is himself an experienced diver and very confident of
the event going off well.

"All arrangements are in place," Coordinator of the
event, Aminath Shauna told reporters.

Nasheed has often warned of the dangers climate change
poses to the Maldives – a country so beautiful it has reached
the final of the `New 7 Wonders of Nature` competition.

Of late, Maldives has been drawing the attention of the
world on the need to take steps to halt rising sea levels.

"If we can`t save the Maldives today, we can`t save
London, New York or Hong Kong tomorrow," a government
statement said.

"The ministers are very confident and all arrangements
are in place," Shauna said, adding the meeting will be held
for half an hour under water.

The cabinet statement adopted at the underwater meet will
be presented at the landmark UN Climate Change talks in
Copenhagen this December.

Bureau Report

First Published: Friday, October 16, 2009 - 15:12
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