Maldives Information Series
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• Thanks to USAID, a growing number of Maldivians have an increased un- derstanding of how climate change impacts their households, communi- ties 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 ex- change of ideas and exposure to local and international expertise about coastal and marine management.
Maldives is an archipelago of 1,200 coral islands grouped in 26 atolls in the Indian Ocean. With its highest point only 8 feet above sea level, it is one of the world’s most vulnerable countries to global climate change. Located along major international shipping routes, a peaceful and resilient Maldives is critical to maritime security and regional stability.
Coordinated closely with other U.S. activities in-country, USAID programs address vulnerabilities that climate-related im- pacts such as rising sea levels, increasing shortages of potable water and droughts have on Maldivians and their livelihoods. USAID programs also seek to promote democratic discourse and practices.
Home to approximately 330,000 people, Maldives was among the world’s poorest countries just three decades ago. How- ever, rich marine life and biodiversity fueled a booming tourism industry and by 2011, Maldives earned middle-income sta- tus. 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 partici- pation of women in politics.
USAID/Maldives Country Profile 1
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