With a spectacular underwater conference the government of the Maldives stressed the dangers of climate change. President Mohamed Nasheed and a total of 13 officials met in scuba gear on the seabed. At a depth of six metres they signed a dramatic appeal to the world - with waterproof pens.
President Mohamed Nasheed was the first to jump into the shimmering turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean next to the island Girifushi. He was followed by 11 ministers, the vice-president and the secretary of the cabinet.
The goverment of the Maldives has held this meeting underwater at a horseshoe-shaped table on the seabed in a bid to attract international attention to the dangers of global warming. President and cabinet members - most of them had previously received a special dive training - signed a document calling for global cuts in carbon emissions.
"This is not just an issue for the Maldives, but for the entire world," said Nasheed. The UN climate change conference in Copenhagen this December cannot be allowed to fail. If the summit fails. "We are going to die," the president said.
The Maldives are an archipelago southwest of Sri Lanka. It's nearly 1,200 islands stand an average of 2.1 metres (7ft) above sea level and are particularly threatened by climate change. A sea level rise of only 18 to 59 centimeters by 2100 would make the flat islands virtually uninhabitable.
Nasheed, a former journalist, is known for his high-visibility events in order to draw attention to the dangers of climate change. Last year, he surprised with the plan to buy a new home country for his people - although he had to admit later that the money would be missing. In addition, the president announced his intention to make the Maldives the world's first CO2-neutral state within ten years.
Published on: 10/17/2009
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