A new platform of cooperation was established by UNDP, NDMA, and MRC with the University of Bicocca-Milano and the University of Dubai.
Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) and Letters of Agreement (LoA) under the Sustainable Disaster Risk Reduction, Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation in Maldives project have been signed respectively between the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and its project partners National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Maldivian Red Crescent (MRC), and UNDP and the University of Bicocca-Milano and University of Dubai, at a ceremony held in Hulhumalé. The project is funded through the Joint SDG Fund and is a collaborative effort between the United Nations in the Maldives and the Local Government Authority.
UNDP and NDMA have been working hand-in-hand to place Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in support of Maldives Climate Change and Adaptation (CCA) efforts and to revamp national and subnational development planning to ensure stronger resilience and preparedness in line with the Maldives Strategic Action Plan (SAP) and Agenda 2030.
The signing ceremony was presided by Mr Enrico Gaveglia, UNDP Resident Representative together with Mr Hisaan Hassan, Chief Executive of NDMA, Mr Abdul Haleem Abdul Latheef, President of MRC and Dr Giovanna Iannantuoni, Rector of the University of Bicocca-Milano. Witnessing the partnership was Mr Francesco Perale, Vice Ambassador of Italy to the Maldives, Ms Giorgia Marazzi, Honorary Consul of Italy with the Italian Honorary Consulate in the Maldives, and Professor Paolo Galli, Professor of Ecology at the Department of Environmental Sciences of University of Milano-Bicocca and Founder and Director of the MaRHE Centre.
The signatory agencies seek to strengthen and deliver concrete actions, collaboration, and communication between national and subnational governments to implement DRR and CCA efforts supporting Maldives’ policies and create enabling conditions to sustain DRR/CCA planning and execution at the island community level.
This will be achieved by the establishment of new implementing regulations, national-subnational institutional coordination mechanisms, and island-level standard operating procedures and capacities to operationalize the Maldives’ vision for locally driven resilience building.
It is expected that it will generate long-term development benefits to populations at higher risk; in particular women, unemployed and at-risk young men and women, migrant workers, older persons, children, persons with disabilities and populations living in remote communities with high exposure to climate-induced disasters.
With NDMA and MRC the partnership will explore creating shared baselines of natural and human-induced disasters and impacts of environmental degradation as well as strengthening existing national data and information management systems for DRR/CCA monitoring, in addition to work in reviewing/updating school and community preparedness plans to include multi-hazard preparedness at national/subnational levels.
The collaboration with University of Bicocca-Milano and University of Dubai will bring the experience of state-of-the-art data and information management systems for DRR/CCA monitoring to include loss and damage analytics with the implementation of capacity development modules for local councils and Women's Development Committees (WDCs) on the CCA/DRR planning part of the academia’s efforts on the ongoing ‘188 Better Islands’ project.
Speaking at the ceremony, Hisaan Hassan, Chief Executive, National Disaster Management Authority said, “As the world enters this era of climate uncertainty, Maldives is fast becoming the frontline and the ground zero for this global climate emergency. In the face of this unprecedented change, our survival as a nation depends on our anticipatory action, adaptive capacity and ability to coexist with nature. As a small island states the Maldives is already witnessing the ferocity of weather systems exacerbated by the effects of climate change.”
Mr Abdul Haleem Abdul Latheef, President of the Maldivian Red Crescent, said, “Cooperation at local and international levels on climate change adaptation and mitigation is essential to working towards a more resilient future. The climate crisis is a humanitarian crisis – to a country that is being increasingly affected by the impacts of the climate crisis like the Maldives, it is even more vital that we work together to empower communities in reducing disaster risk through sustainable approaches.”
“This is a strategic agreement that sees us involved together with UNDP to provide fundamental help to council members to plan for the challenges and opportunities that the Islands will face over the next years. The“188 Better Islands”, project - which brings together research and Public Engagement - was created to identify a new model of environmental sustainability that starts from the Maldives, but can be applied all over the world”, said Dr Giovanna Iannantuoni, Rector of the University of Bicocca-Milano.
Mr Enrico Gaveglia, UNDP Resident Representative in the Maldives, reiterated UNDP’s commitment to seek integration between partners of Maldives on their multiple efforts to address the complexities brought by the climate crisis, and said, “International aid is often perceived scattered and siloed in Maldives. UNDP’s role is to frame a new set of cooperation that brings the best of the global practice and delivers to communities’ solutions in the immediate. Taxing national partners and people with endless consultations around issues and plans has now given way to concrete transformative change. This is why we are here.”
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