Gaia Vince interviews the President of the Maldives

Planning carbon neutrality by 2020 despite coup

Science presenter and author, Gaia Vince, this week interviewed President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives. The President took office in 2008 following the country’s first democratic elections at the end of a 30-year oppressive dictatorship in which he was frequently imprisoned and tortured.

Gaia visited the Maldives during his presidency and talked to him about his commitment to democracy, social reforms to bring ordinary Maldivians into the 21st century, and his environmental concerns. The Maldives is the world’s lowest-lying country, most at risk from rising sea levels owing to climate change. Nasheed explained his plans to make the country carbon neutral by 2020 and create a sovereign fund for nationals to migrate elsewhere when the islands become uninhabitable.

Gaia: “In February this year, Nasheed was forced to resign the presidency at gunpoint during a coup. This week in London he told me that he wants to see free and fair elections held soon to reinstate democracy in his country. In the interim he fears for his life, yet he is still optimistic that if he returns to presidency he can make his 2020 deadline for carbon neutrality.”

Gaia’s interview with President Mohamed Nasheed was part of her research for her book ‘Travels in the Anthropocene’.

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20 Sept 2012