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Environment Minister Aminath Shauna participates in high-level discussions on World Ocean Day.

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The Minister of Environment, Climate Change and Technology Aminath Shauna  has participated in a virtual event held by The Commonwealth to on the occasion of World Ocean Day 2021. Minister Aminath Shauna addressed a high-level discussion on behalf of His Excellency President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on how protecting coastal communities & ocean health is critical to achieving economic recovery from COVID-19.

Below is the statement by Minister Aminath Shauna in its entirety:

“Thank you for that warm introduction, Secretary General. On behalf of His Excellency President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, it is my pleasure to address you all on World Ocean’s Day. Thank you again, Secretary General for your kind invitation.

For a country like the Maldives, the Commonwealth Blue Charter ensures an inclusive and equitable approach to ocean economic development and protection. The blue charter enjoys active cooperation from member states to meet essential commitments for sustainable ocean development.

The Maldives is made up of just 1% land and 99% water. We like to think of ourselves not as a small island state, but a large ocean state. Although all states are dependent on the ocean, for the Maldives the ocean is our very essence, our means of existence.

Our lives and livelihoods are closely linked to the ocean. Tourism and Fisheries, our economic sectors, depend on the health of our seas. Our atolls are among the largest reef systems in the world, and act as protection barriers for our low-lying islands. Our reefs are our forests. Our pristine waters are home to a rich marine life, that also provides us food.

The ocean is our workplace, and our playground, but it is now in crisis. The climate crisis is heating the oceans and killing coral reefs, while overfishing and marine plastic pollution are causing more environmental stress.

This is why, last month, the President ratified the Climate Emergency Act, which comprises of a framework for Maldives to work towards achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2030. This is a tough target to reach, and we will need financial and technical help from all of our partners to achieve it. But we believe we have more to lose by not setting our ambitions high.

We have also entered into a partnership with the Blue Prosperity Coalition to develop a Marine Spatial Plan that will support our blue economy initiatives with scientific data, ensuring our economic growth is sustainable while simultaneously enhancing marine life. It is a consultative process with communities to understand which areas we must protect now in order to save our common futures.

As a member of the High Ambition Coalition and Global Oceans Alliance, the Maldives has also joined 70 nations in a collaborative effort to protect 30% of the oceans by 2030.

We recognize that plastic has become an essential component of our lives. However, the convenience that single use plastic has provided is a looming threat to our ecosystem and our livelihoods. Which is why the Maldives has committed to phase out single-use plastics by 2023, with a plan to regulate import, production and sales of single-use plastic products.

I am happy to announce that we have started the implementation process this month. From June 1st, it is now illegal to import a range of single use products into the Maldives, including imported water bottles below 500 ml, plastic straws and single use plastic based cutleries. But our efforts to protect our fragile ecosystems will only succeed if other countries also play their part.

 This includes carbon reduction commitments commensurate with 1.5-degrees. Governments must ensure their global commitments to the Sustainable Development Goals, especially Goal 14 – life below water which calls to protect 10% of the marine environment by 2020, have been met. Greater global cooperation is needed to establish a system that is effective, science-based and legally enforced to better manage global fish stocks. For the sake of ocean health, sustainable practices cannot only be employed in one place, but throughout the whole migratory path.

As President Solih has stated, “The oceans are our life support systems. The loss of and damage to our marine environments threaten the very existence of our way of life. We have shown we have the power to change the course of nature. Let us act now to steer a path that protects us all.”.

Change course on carbon emissions; on ocean protection; on sustainable fisheries; on plastic pollution…

The Maldives is committed to playing its part on all these issues. And we hope we can encourage other countries to do the same. Thank you.”.

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In Pictures: Mayor Dr. Mohamed Muizzu visits the newly opened Ihsaan Villi in Villimalé.

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China raises voice over illegal military intervention against sovereign states.

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China and a number of other countries has raised concern over military intervention under the pretext of human rights. They raised their concerns at the ongoing 47th session of the Human Rights Council.

Jiang Duan, Minister of the Chinese mission to the United Nations in Geneva, delivered a joint statement to the council yesterday. In it he stated that certain countries are conducting military interventions in sovereign states under the pretext of democracy, human rights and the “responsibility to protect”.

He stated that “These acts severely violate the universally recognized norms of international law, undermine the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the relevant countries, and damage world peace and security,”

He pointed out that such interventions have caused massive losses to the socioeconomic development of those countries along with civilian casualties and force displacement. He also stated that such military interventions are the “root cause of refugee and migrant crisis and regional turbulence.”.

He also added that “Certain countries even connive at their soldiers’ unlawful killing and torture of civilians in overseas military operations, which constitutes serious war crimes and crimes against humanity,”.

Jiang Duan urged the UN institutions to follow up  on illegal military interventions, and called out for the countries concerned to immediately cease their illegal military interventions and to make reparations for the victimized countries and their people.

Source: Xinhua News Agency. 

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Microsoft’s Windows 11 is officially on the way.

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Microsoft has officially announced the next version of Window today, which will be Windows 11. After months of teases and leak, Windows 11 is expected to arrive in the last quarter of this year. Microsoft has promised to make it available as a free upgrade to eligible Windows 10 users and to new PC’s from this year’s holiday.

Microsoft redesigns the user interface for Windows 11, with a centred Start menu and Taskbar. Live tiles are replaced with a grid of icon that can be rearranged and pinned to Start. There are also new Widgets feature that houses things like your calendar, weather, sports leaderboard, and latest news. System Tray also was improved with a new split Notification and Quick Action user interface.

Microsoft’s Panos Panay, Chief Product Officer, Windows + Devices wrote on Microsoft blog “We’ve simplified the design and user experience to empower your productivity and inspire your creativity. It’s modern, fresh, clean and beautiful. From the new Start button and taskbar to each sound, font and icon, everything was done intentionally to put you in control and bring a sense of calm and ease. We put Start at the center and made it easier to quickly find what you need.”

One of the surprises of the event was Microsoft’s announcement that it will be using Amazon’s Appstore to bring Android apps to Windows 11. Microsoft will be utilizing Intel’s Bridge technology to make Android apps work on Windows 11.

During the closing remarks, Microsoft Chairman and CEO Satya Nadella said “Windows recognizes that there is no personal computing without personal agency. Personal computing requires choice, and we need to nurture and grow our own agency over computing itself. We want to remove the barriers that too often exist today and provide real choice and connection.”

He laid out his vision for Windows 11 as a “platform for platform creators,” and in doing so, he issued a subtle but nonetheless stinging critique of Apple.

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