The Green Guru
Mohamed Nasheed was the fourth President of the Maldives from 2008 to 2012. He is one of the founders of the Maldivian Democratic party and was the first President to be democratically elected. He currently holds the position of Speaker of the People’s Majlis (parliament).
With the Maldives being a true island nation, made up of some 2,000 islands and atolls in the middle of the Indian Ocean, it is extremely vulnerable to the impacts of global warming and rising sea levels.
President Nasheed, who is often and fondly referred to as the ‘Mandela of the Maldives’, became a true champion for the environment. “There are those who tell us that solving climate change is impossible,” he told attendees at the 2009 United Nations Climate Conference. “There are those who tell us taking radical action is too difficult. There are those who tell us to give up hope. Well, I am here to tell you that we refuse to give up hope. We refuse to be quiet. We refuse to believe that a better world isn’t possible.” His passionate speech resulted in a voluntary agreement in which countries recognized the need to keep the global temperature increase in check and pledged several billion US dollars to help developing countries adapt.
This formed the basis for the Paris Accord, signed by 195 countries in 1995. In recognition of his efforts, Time Magazine in September 2009 bestowed him the title of Hero of the Environment. Shortly thereafter, on Earth Day in April 2010, the United Nations presented Nasheed with its Champions of the Earth environment award. In August 2010, Newsweek named him in its list of World’s Ten Best Leaders.
President Nasheed has pledged to make the Maldives the world’s first carbon-neutral country. Moreover, he is one of the founding members of the Maldives Coral Institute and is campaigning hard for protection of the coral reefs that helped save his country from the devastating 2005 tsunami by absorbing the brunt of the powerful earthquake-triggered wave.
Most recently, Nasheed was appointed as Ambassador for Ambition by the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF), an international partnership of 48 developing nations most threatened by a global climate emergency. In his new role Nasheed will focus on delivery of the Paris Accord, draw up Climate Prosperity Plans that will deliver economic prosperity while also progressively eliminating carbon emissions and propose new technology hubs to deal with hard to de-carbonize parts of the economy and to accelerate climate adaptation.
In the words of Mohamed Nasheed: “We Maldivians are a nation of survivors. And we will do everything we can to ensure the survival of our country. But we can only survive as a nation if we also survive as a planet.”