In 2009, the Maldives – Asia’s smallest state by land area and population – announced plans to become the world’s first carbon neutral country by 2020.
The same year, it decided to phase out ozone-damaging chemicals HCFCs – widely used in airconditioners and refrigerators -- by 2020, a full decade ahead of the phase out target set in the Montreal Protocol to protect the ozone layer.
The Maldives Ministry of Environment and Energy is now engaging the support of the country’s media to raise public and industry awareness about measures being taken to achieve this goal.
The government plans to ban the import of HCFC-based equipment from 1 July 2014, said Minister of State for Environment and Energy, Abdul Matheen Mohamed, at the closing ceremony of a national media training workshop on ozone and climate held in Maldivian capital Malé on 28 February 2013.
The Minister emphasized the need to raise awareness among both consumers and industry about these regulations, and sought the media’s cooperation.
The media workshop, titled ‘Ozone, Climate and Media: Communicating for Survival’ was held on 27 and 28 February 2013 at the Voice of Maldives auditorium. It was attended by 22 journalists and broadcasters drawn from the country’s print, broadcast and web media.
The workshop was aimed at sensitizing the media about climate and energy efficiency benefits of HCFC phase-out for the industry and households in the Maldives.
It was organized by the National Ozone Unit of the Ministry of Environment and Energy in partnership with United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) OzonAction and Maldives Broadcasting Commission. It was supported by the Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development (AIBD), Commonwealth Broadcasting Association (CBA), and TVE Asia Pacific (TVEAP).
On February 27, the workshop was inaugurated by Mohamed Shaheeb, President of Maldives Broadcasting Commission. He highlighted the importance of media’s role in educating and creating awareness among the public on environmental issues.
At the closing ceremony, Miruza Mohamed, the National Ozone Officer, announced a new media award for excellence in ozone/climate related media products carried in print, broadcast and web media in the Maldives. The USD 1,000 award is open to all Maldivian journalists and broadcasters working in Divehi and English.
The media training workshop was conducted by NOU staff along with two regional media experts, Nalaka Gunawardene, Director of TVE Asia Pacific, and Moneeza Hashmi, General Manager of HUM-TV of Pakistan and President, Commonwealth Broadcasting Association (CBA).
TVEAP has been a regular partner in media training and capacity building in the Maldives. In June and July 2010, TVEAP helped conduct two national media workshops on ozone and climate related issues.
The Maldives is the smallest Asian country in both population and land area. With an average ground level of 1.5 metres (4 ft 11 in) above sea level, it is also the planet's lowest country.
National Ozone Unit, Ministry of Environment and Energy, The Maldives