On 5 June 2019, World Environment Day, the Save Maldives Campaign issued a press statement in which, among other concerns, we called on the Ministry of Environment to publish the Mangrove Action Project (MAP) experts’ report assessing the Kulhudhuffushi wetland and mangroves. This report was produced following the experts’ study visit to Kulhudhuffushi in April 2019.

On 27 June 2019, the Ministry of Environment published the report on the Ministry’s website. The MAP expert’s report dated 18 May 2019 (see below, or download here), provides several recommendations on addressing the issue of conserving the remaining part of Kulhudhuffushi wetland and mangroves. However, it is evident that the experts have noted the report is preliminary, awaiting mapping data from the Ministry to make final recommendations based on that information.

We request the Ministry of Environment to provide the mapping data required for the experts to complete their assessment in order to expedite efforts to take the necessary practical action to conserve the remaining part of Kulhudhuffushi wetland and mangroves.

We make particular note that in point 8 of the report, the experts express the following :
“We do not recommend the following options :
Reclaiming Kulhudhuffushi
With the runway already in place, it may be a tempting option to reclaim whole wetland.
This decision will have profound environmental and socio-economic implications for the lagoon as well as the island and could result in reduced groundwater recharge, more flooding, and poor building quality due to subsidence.”

The Save Maldives Campaign thanks MAP and the IUCN Mangrove Specialists Group for their voluntary support to the Ministry of Environment providing expert advice on the way forward to conserve the remaining part of Kulhudhuffushi wetland and mangroves.  We also welcome the Ministry of Environment’s positive response to our calls to make the MAP experts’ report public.

We take this opportunity to reiterate the following remaining requests to the Ministry regarding the report, as per our press statement of 05 June 2019.
c) commission a professional translation of the report in Dhivehi and publish it, to ensure the contents can be accessed by everyone, especially the community of Kulhudhuffushi
d) take immediate action on the experts’ recommendations to conserve Kulhudhuffushi Kulhi for present and future generations of both Kulhudhuffushi and the Maldives.

The Save Maldives Campaign remains committed to engaging with all stakeholders to achieve sustainable, economically and environmentally sound solutions to conserve the remaining part of Kulhudhuffushi wetland and mangroves.