World`s first underwater cabinet meet tomorrow
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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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