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Maldives: The 4th Chair of Asia Protected Area Partnership

The Asia Protected Area Partnership (APAP) Secretariat is pleased to announce that the Government of the Maldives has assumed the role of Co-Chair effective December 2023. 

APAP is co-chaired between a partner country and the IUCN Asia Regional Office (ARO). The Co-Chairs steer the regional partnership platform in enhancing capacity of national institutions for scaling up governance and effective management of protected and conserved areas (PCAs). The Ministry of Climate Change, Environment and Energy, Republic of Maldives, takes over the chairmanship from Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MOEFCC), Government of India, which recently completed its two-year tenure. Japan and the Republic of Korea had also previously served as country Chairs. 

As Co-Chair for the term 2024-25, the Maldives aims to emphasise the promotion and support of marine protected and conserved areas (MPAs). Despite receiving relatively little attention in the past, MPAs are now gaining strategic importance in contributing to the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework. Notably, Target 3 of the Framework calls for the conservation of 30 percent of the world’s lands and waters by 2030. 

A ceremony to officially announce the Maldives as APAP Chair was held during the National Forum on Protected and Conserved Areas, held between 15 – 17 January 2024 in Malé. At the Forum, Dr Dindo Campilan, in his capacity as Co-Chair of APAP representing IUCN ARO, handed over the representative plaque to H.E. Thoriq Ibrahim, Minister of Climate Change, Environment and Energy, Government of the Maldives. 

In accepting the role, H.E. Ibrahim stressed that the Ministry aspires to expand the partnership across Asian countries in critical frontiers of conservation. Dr Campilan, IUCN Regional Director for Asia and Hub Director for Oceania, expressed hope that “as an archipelagic nation, the Maldives will be able to serve as a model for MPA conservation for countries facing similar ecosystem challenges”. 

APAP was established in 2014 to facilitate improved conservation outcomes for PCAs in Asia, in accordance with the Sendai Charter for Asia’s protected areas and in support of national and regional efforts to implement the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020. Since then it has served as a model for regional collaboration, showcasing the power of partnerships in driving progress toward the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as well as the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.

As the immediate past Chair, the MoEFCC, Government of India, supported the second Asia Parks Congress held in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, in May 2022. Additionally, it hosted a regional technical workshop for APAP members at the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) in Dehradun. 

For more information on APAP, visit https://www.asiaprotectedareaspartnership.org/