CROSSROADS Maldives partners with govt for major sustainability, conservation initiative

S Hotels and Resorts, the international hospitality company from Singha Estate, has signed a landmark Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Maldives’ Ministry of Climate Change, Environment & Energy to preserve this idyllic island nation’s natural environment, share knowledge about the importance of conservation, and support CROSSROADS Maldives’ rich marine biodiversity in an area covering 3.15km² – about 31% of the total project size – as part of an Other Effective Area-Based Conservation Measures (OECMs) programme.

Under the theme “Empower Minds, Foster Growth,” a major ceremony was staged at CROSSROADS Maldives. It was attended by senior dignitaries from the Ministry of Climate Change, Environment & Energy, including Deputy Minister Hassan Mohamed, Permanent Secretary Ajwadh Mustafa, and Director Muhusina Abdul Rahman, accompanied by representatives from the Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Fisheries, Ministry of Education, and the Maldives Marine Research Institute. They were joined by senior executives from S Hotels & Resorts, including CEO Michael Marshall and marine scientist Dr Thon Thamrongnawasawat, the project leader, along with 20 students from various schools across the archipelago.

The MoU will see S Hotels & Resorts play a key role in achieving the shared environmental objectives of S Hotels & Resorts and the Maldivian government, including knowledge sharing, capacity building and support of OECMs – a conservation approach outside official protected zones.

At the heart of this programme will be the Marine Discovery Centre, CROSSROADS Maldives’ innovative environmental and educational hub which features a state-of-the-art laboratory and undertakes critical projects such as coral propagation and breeding and release programmes for endangered species, and the Maldives Discovery Centre, which strives to protect the rich history, culture and arts and crafts that define the cultural identity of the Maldivian people.

Education is a key aspect of this MoU, and the 20 students invited to the signing ceremony were also given the opportunity to visit these pioneering conservation and heritage centres, where the programme was officially launched with information about coral restoration, biodiversity and culture. Future campaigns will be aimed at spreading knowledge among a wider range of social groups and ages, from children to seniors, including efforts to help communities better understand the ecosystem and how they interact with it.

This marks the latest phase in CROSSROADS Maldives’ partnerships with local schools. Since its inception in 2019, this integrated resort has invited more than 1,800 students from neighbouring islands to learn about conservation. Every aspect of this ground-breaking development is interwoven with its commitment to environmental and cultural preservation, including the use of solar panels to harness renewable energy. This dedication to sustainable practices helped CROSSROADS Maldives earn Green Globe Certification in 2023.

Michael Marshall, CEO, S Hotels & Resorts, said: “We are delighted to sign this MoU with our highly esteemed partners at the Ministry of Climate Change, Environment & Energy. At CROSSROADS Maldives, we have always strived to protect the local environment and promote the livelihoods of the Maldivian people. Under this landmark agreement, we pledge to provide technical assistance, in-kind support and engage in outreach programmes for public education and awareness. This collaboration will also strengthen our position as an OECM and, in turn, contribute to the sustainable development of the Maldives.”

Deputy Minister Hassan Mohamed of the Ministry of Climate Change, Environment & Energy, commented: “I would like to congratulate CROSSROADS Maldives on their conservation and awareness work through the Marine Discovery Centre. Awareness and outreach play a pivotal role in preserving the biodiversity of the Maldives. As remarked by His Excellency, President Dr. Mohamed Muiz at the 28th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework on Climate Change: ‘In our island nation, every coral, every grain of sand, every fish, and every palm tree carry value.’ Education programmes, community engagement initiatives, and partnerships between local communities, businesses, and government bodies are essential in creating a united front against the challenges posed to the Maldives’ biodiversity. With initiatives like the MoU signed today, we are taking positive steps toward creating a more aware and resilient community.”

This OECMs project is the important part of S Hotels & Resorts’ long-term commitment to being a nature-based solution organisation and is aligned with the COP 28 direction that aims to protect precious marine ecosystems and increase key biodiversity areas by 30% by 2030.

Hotelier News Desk
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