Home to approximately 330,000 people, Maldives was among the world’s poorest countries just three decades ago. However, rich marine life and biodiversity fueled a booming tourism industry and by 2011, Maldives earned middle-income status. The island nation has also achieved notable improvements in health and education, with life expectancy of 77 years and a 98 percent literacy rate.
However, Maldives faces undeniable challenges to its future progress due to significant threats posed by climate change. High population density — ranked 11th in the world — and dependence on climate-sensitive industries such as fisheries and tourism exacerbate the country’s vulnerability.
USAID works to strengthen the resilience of Maldivians to the adverse effects of global climate change in two main areas: water and coastal resource management, particularly coral reefs.
Politically, Maldives struggles with increased religious extremism, political polarization and low representation of women in politics. USAID helps strengthen democratic practices by supporting civic education, political reform and increased participation of women in politics.
Thanks to USAID, a growing number of Maldivians have an increased understanding of how climate change impacts their households, communities and natural environment.
USAID helps the government and private sector develop and use tools that enable informed decision-making about coastal resource management.
USAID supports Maldivian youth through fellowships and educational opportunities that allow for the exchange of ideas and exposure to local and international expertise about coastal and marine management.
Environment and global climate change
USAID helps the Government of Maldives achieve conservation goals and enhance the country’s resilience to the adverse effects of climate change by strengthening the sustainable management of coastal resources, particularly coral reefs. USAID support includes mapping coastal and marine resources, monitoring and developing tools for the government and resorts to inform their decision-making around resource management and the protection of coral reefs, and educating Maldivians on the importance of marine resource protection to economic growth.
USAID also works with residents to help them understand and adapt to climate change impacts on their natural environment, particularly the supply of clean water for drinking and domestic use. On one of the largest and most populous islands, USAID is providing a new potable water system that will serve all 5,300 residents.
Last updated: March 22, 2016