Languages
Page last updated at 09:13 GMT, Saturday, 17 October 2009 10:13 UK

Maldives cabinet makes a splash

Advertisement

President Mohamed Nasheed and his cabinet met underwater

The government of the Maldives has held a cabinet meeting underwater to highlight the threat of global warming to the low-lying Indian Ocean nation.

President Mohamed Nasheed and his cabinet signed a document calling for global cuts in carbon emissions.

Ministers spent half an hour on the sea bed, communicating with white boards and hand signals.

The president said the UN climate change conference in Copenhagen this December cannot be allowed to fail.

At a later press conference while still in the water, President Nasheed was asked what would happen if the summit fails. "We are going to die," he replied.

If the Maldives cannot be saved today we do not feel that there is much of a chance for the rest of the world
President Mohamed Nasheed

The Maldives stand an average of 2.1 metres (7ft) above sea level, and the government says they face being wiped out if oceans rise.

"We're now actually trying to send our message, let the world know what is happening, and what will happen to the Maldives if climate change is not checked," President Nasheed said.

"If the Maldives cannot be saved today we do not feel that there is much of a chance for the rest of the world," he added.

Military minders

Three of the 14 cabinet ministers missed the underwater meeting, about 20 minutes by boat from the capital, Male, because two were not given medical permission and another was abroad, officials said.

President Nasheed and other cabinet members taking part had been practising their slow breathing to get into the right mental frame for the meeting, a government source said.

Maldives cabinet in scuba gear near Male
The cabinet were joined by instructors and military escorts

About 5m underwater, in a blue-green lagoon on a small island used for military training, they were observed by a clutch of snorkelling journalists.

Each minister was accompanied by a diving instructor and a military minder.

While underwater, they signed a document ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December, calling on all nations to cut their carbon emissions.

World leaders at the summit aim to create a new agreement to replace the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012.



Print Sponsor


SEE ALSO
Maldives leader in climate change stunt
17 Oct 09 |  South Asia
Leading by an achievable example
02 Jun 09 |  Science & Environment
Maldives to miss climate summit
07 Sep 09 |  South Asia
Heightened fears for lowering lands
12 Jan 09 |  South Asia
Country profile: The Maldives
17 Feb 11 |  Country profiles

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2013 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific