World`s first underwater cabinet meet held in Maldives

Last Updated: Saturday, October 17, 2009 - 15:53

Colombo: Maldivian cabinet on Saturday met at the
bottom of the sea, marking the first ever such meeting to be
held underwater, which framed an SOS to global leaders to save
their atoll nation from being submerged by the rising seas.

The SOS in the shape of a declaration was approved at
the 25-minute cabinet meeting presided over by President
Mohammad Nasheed.
The declaration will be presented at the Copenhagen meet
on climate change in December, with Nasheed saying that
Maldives was not the only country facing such a calamity.

"If it is Maldives today, you cannot save yourself
tomorrow," the President of this picturesque group of coral
islands said after surfacing from the meeting.

Nasheed and his cabinet colleagues scuba-dived to their
underwater rendezvous and spent 45 minutes sitting across a
number of tables immersed to the bottom of the sea, off the
Girifushi island, about 35 nautical miles from capital Male.

The ministers dressed in scuba suits arrived by speed
boats to the island and then dived to the cabinet meeting.

The declaration said global warming was sending the ice
caps crashing into the sea leading to sharp rise in water
levels and threats to the low-lying nations, the Presidential
spokesperson told agency over phone from Male.

Nasheed and his colleagues used white boards and hand
signals to communicate their decisions at the under-sea meet.
All the ministers had undergone diving courses for the past
two months to keep their underwater date.
The Maldivian ministers went 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, Nasheed
himself an experienced diver very confidentlt presided over
the world`s first underwater cabinet meeting, the spokesperson
said.

Bureau Report



First Published: Saturday, October 17, 2009 - 15:53

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