Minister of Foreign Affairs Moosa Zameer and Australia’s Ambassador for Climate Change Kristin Tilley have discussed the pressing challenges faced by climate-vulnerable Small Island Developing States (SIDS) like the Maldives. The discussions, which took place on Sunday at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, also encompassed potential avenues for collaboration with environmentally conscious nations such as Australia.

During the meeting, Zameer briefed Ambassador Tilley on President Mohamed Muizzu’s administration’s environmental and climate change policies. These include a strategic shift towards 33 percent renewable energy usage and an ambitious plan to plant five million trees throughout the Maldives.

Minister Zameer underscored the importance of a joint approach to address the challenges faced by SIDS in accessing climate financing through international financial institutions. The discussions also focused on deepening the existing bilateral relations, with an emphasis on strengthening cooperation in areas such as tourism and fostering people-to-people ties.

SIDS are confronting disproportionate and escalating impacts due to climate change. Their unique circumstances make them exceedingly susceptible to external shocks, including global health crises such as the recent Covid-19 pandemic. These states urgently need external financial support and capacity building to aid their recovery efforts and fortify the resilience of the social, economic, and natural systems they rely upon.

Despite bearing the brunt of climate change while contributing a mere 1 percent to global carbon dioxide emissions, SIDS had access to only US$1.5 billion out of the US$100 billion in climate finance pledged to developing countries in 2019, according to the United Nations.