Celebrating 9 Years of Achievements: REGENERATE Project Comes to a Close
On 22 February 2023, a closing ceremony was held in Male’, Maldives, to celebrate the successful conclusion of the Reefs Generate Environmental and Economic Resiliency for Atoll Ecosystems (REGENERATE) project. The project aimed to improve access to science-based decision making, capacity building, strengthened decentralized management and financing for improved reef health and resiliency to climate change in Maldives.
The ceremony was graced by Her Excellency Ms Zaha Waheed, Minister at the President’s Office, Dr Abdulla Naseer, Minister of State for Environment, Climate Change and Technology, Mr Gabriel Grau, USAID Mission Director for Maldives, and Dr Dindo Campilan, Regional Director for Asia and Hub Director for Oceania, along with senior Government officials, project partners, stakeholder agencies, and students.
One of the highlights of the closing ceremonies was the video showcasing the key achievements through the project, including the designation of two new UNESCO Biosphere Reserves in Addu and Fuvahmulah atolls, declaration of 12 new sites with unique ecological features as legally protected areas, biodiversity assessments of 79 sites across the nation, and launching of the Maldives Red List initiative, to name a few. During the implementation period, the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Technology became an IUCN State Member in April 2022.
The event also featured the launching of a workbook, Ecosystems of the Maldives, aimed at primary school children. Additionally, an awareness video on Protected Areas in the Maldives was launched.
At the event, Ms Zaha Waheed emphasized that "it is our shared responsibility to act as custodians of the marine environment to ensure the sustainable management of these coastal resources and to build resilience against the effects of climate change." The USAID Mission Director, Mr Gabriel Grau, expressed his pride in supporting the Government of Maldives Biosphere Reserve vision, including the designation of Addu and Fuvahmulah atolls as UNESCO Biosphere Reserves. “REGENERATE helped the Government of Maldives to legally declare 12 new sites with unique ecological features as protected areas, resulting in 21 percent of land being protected in the Maldives today.”
The REGENERATE project, a Government of Maldives project, was implemented by IUCN and generously funded by USAID. The project's successes in achieving improved reef health and resiliency to climate change will undoubtedly have a lasting impact on the Maldives' environment and its people.