UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons, Chaloka Beyani is now on an official visit to the Maldives in a bid to assess the extent of displacement due to climate change.
This is the first visit to the country by a UN expert on internally displaced persons.
Beyani’s visit from July 16-22 will include meetings with various stakeholders related to the newly launched Strategic National Action Plan for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaption 2010-2020.
Yesterday, Beyani met with Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed where he urged the need for a legal framework in relation to the policy of national disaster.
Apart from the 2004 Tsunami that saw some of the country’s low-lying islands badly devastated, unusually strong storm surges in May 2007 flooded as much as 48 of the archipelago's 197 inhabited islands.
Waves of 3-4 feet hit the chain of islands that stands on average 1.5 (5 feet) above the sea level – bringing home the fact that the issue of climate change is already reality in the Maldives.
The possibility of Maldivians becoming climate refugees has often been raised in the arena of talks on global warming.
Maldives was the first country to raise the issue of climate change at the Human Rights Council.