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World’s first ever underwater cabinet meeting concludes in the Maldives

Politics in the Maldives will sink to a new low later this month, when the nation's cabinet holds its first meeting underwater.

The country, a collection of atolls and islands in the Indian Ocean, stands less than two metres above sea level, and as climate change causes seas to rise it will probably be the first nation to sink beneath the waves.

Under the threat of that looming watery Armageddon, President Mohamed Nasheed has announced plans to hold a cabinet meeting under the sea, ahead of the UN climate change conference in Copenhagen this December.

Ministers clad in wetsuits and shouldering compressed-air tanks, will meet about 20ft (6m) underwater on 17 October. They will communicate through hand gestures, according to Aminath Shauna, an official from the president's office.

"It is to send a message to the world. The intention is to draw the attention of the world leaders to the issue of global warming and highlight how serious are the threats faced by Maldives as a result," she said. "If we can stop climate change, the lowest-lying nation on earth will be saved." The gathering will take place off the island of Girifushi, which lies about 20 minutes' journey by speedboat from the capital, Male. One minister has already had to pull out: scuba instructors said the education minister was not fit enough to take on the dive.

After his election last year, Nasheed raised the possibility of buying a new homeland for the country's 396,000 residents with the hundreds of millions of dollars that tourists spend.Earlier this year, he announced that the Maldives would stop using fossil fuels by 2020. The president is also committed to converting an atoll into a UN-protected biosphere to preserve the unique wildlife and fauna found on the 1,100 islands. Officials say that underwater meetings should not become future fixture of Maldives democracy. For this meeting, the documents will be sheathed in water-proof plates pinned to the table. "If it were to go on the paperwork would be very, very challenging," said one official.

• This article was amended on 8 October 2009. The original said that the ministers would be using oxygen tanks. This has been corrected.

350 & Maldives at 24th Oc tober 2009 is an international campaign dedicated to building a movement to unite the world around solutions to the climate crisis.

Its mission is to inspire the world to rise to the challenge of the climate crisis—to create a new sense of urgency and of possibility for our planet.

Its focus is on the number 350--as in parts per million (ppm), the level scientists have identified as the safe upper limit for CO2 in our atmosphere. The current level is 389 ppm.

On 24th October 2009 is cordinating an International Day of Climate Action in order to unite the public, media and political leaders behind the 350 goal. By having actions all around the world that day, plans to send a clear message to the world leaders (who will be meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark this December to craft a new global treaty on cutting emissions) that 'the solutions to climate change must be equitable, they must be grounded in science, and they must meet the scale of the crisis.'

  • "350 Maldives 2009" event organized by ECOCARE Maldives in affiliation with the Scouts Association of Maldives will be hosting number of events including:

    - 350 Balloon's floating in midair with the number "350" lit on it

    - Maldivian cultural music session with awareness programs

    - Ground 350 motor vehicles (cars and motor bikes)

    - Cut down energy consumption of the capital island Male' by 350KW

  • "350 Prayers" - 350 people reciting Quran and praying to God to save our environment
  • "Below 350" - An underwater demonstration by scuba divers and snorklers joining hands to show their support to reduce atmospheric carbondioxide to safer levels
  • "Operation Life Raft 350" – a raft made from empty PET water bottles to be rowed from Male' to Hulhule, trying to create awareness in ways to reduce, reuse and recylce in order to achieve the 350 balance.

In addition, the Maldives Photographers Association together with the Maldives Science Society is planning to send 350 unique postcards to 350 world leaders and personalities who will be attending the Copenhagen conference (COP15).

These actions from the Maldives will be part of more than 1400 currently registered actions from 111 countries happening on 24th October 2009.

If an international grassroots movement holds the world leaders accountable to the latest climate science, we can start the global transformation we so desperately need.


Behind The Veil

Behind The Veil
Originally uploaded by i b u
She always stands alone and nobody wants her,
He always stands alone and nobody wants him,
Behind the veil with the truth;
Open the waters to expose matters,
Like when success fails to come in.
Cheerful and childish,
Lonely and hopeless,
Better as expected from the traditions of the people;
A Philosophy,
A Notebook, .....BY Edward Kofi Louis