UK Assistance to the Maldives

    Heighlights

    British assistance to the Maldives began in the 1960s, and has mainly been targeted towards human resources development.

    British assistance to the Maldives in the area of human resources development began in the 1960s. Initially, assistance was provided under the British Partnership Scheme. Since May 1996, all assistance has bas been channelled under the Small Grants Scheme. Assistance from the UK to the Maldives has been mainly targeted towards human resources development.

    The UK Department for International Development (DfID), through its office in Colombo, is an active contributor to development in the Maldives. DfID has close working relationships with VSO, NGOs and, of course, the Maldives Government. Most UK development assistance to the Maldives is channelled through multilateral agencies, including the UN, World Bank and Asian Development Bank.

    DFID swung into action in the immediate aftermath of the Tsunami with a pledge of £50 million in aid, providing assistance in the form of landing craft, vehicles, and humanitarian relief supplies such as bottled water.

    Other UK government-funded projects in the Maldives have included public health campaigns, child protection initiatives, and the provision of basis education. Under the Volunteer Services Overseas (VSO) programme, several volunteers have been serving in the Maldives since 1981. Currently, there are 26 VSO volunteers in the Maldives, working primarily in the education and healthcare sectors.

    The All-Party British-Maldives Parliamentary Group is an informal interest group of MPs that seeks to ‘raise awareness of key issues in the Maldives including environmental problems, education, political issues and social problems’

    The All-Party British-Maldives Parliamentary Group is an informal interest group consisting of Members of the House of Commons and House of Lords that seeks to ‘raise awareness of key issues in the Maldives including environmental problems, education, political issues and social problems’

     The All-Party British-Maldives Parliamentary Group was established on the initiative of Labour MP Tom Cox on 10 March 1999. The group consists of 20 British MPs and Peers from all the major political parties. The Embassy meets with members of the group frequently to brief members on developments in Maldives, and discuss issues of importance to British-Maldives relations.

    The group is currently chaired by David Amess, Conservative MP for Southend West.

     

    Links:

    Register of the All-Party British Maldives Parliamentary Group – British Parliament Website

    Introduction to All-Party Groups – British Parliament Website

     

    Since Independence from British Protectorship in 1965, Maldives and the United Kingdom have enjoyed close, friendly and mutually beneficial relations. Maldives attaches great importance to its relationship with the United Kingdom, and hopes that bi-lateral cooperation on economic, social and political development can move from strength to strength.

    Maldives and United Kingdom have a long history of close relations, and 26 July 2012 marked the 47th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Following on from being a British Protectorate, Maldives hosted a British air base RAF Gan in Addu Atoll between 1957 and 1967 (this British link was celebrated in 2011 at a photography exhibition that accompanied Maldives’ hosting of the SAARC Summit). Numerous high level visits have taken place between the UK and Maldives, with HM Queen Elizabeth II visiting the islands on 13 March 1972.

    The strong commercial and human links between Maldives and Britain continue to this day. Almost 100,000 Britons choose to travel to Maldives each year in order to experience the countries’ natural beauty and luxury resorts (Source: Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Republic of Maldives). Additionally, in recent years a number of British teachers have volunteered in various schools throughout Maldives. Meanwhile, many Maldivians travel to the United Kingdom for pleasure, and at any one time roughly 200 Maldivians choose to reside in the UK in order to study in Britain’s world renowned universities.

    Britain is also an important market for Maldivian canned a fresh fish products. In 2011, 7% of total exports from Maldives, with a cumulative value of US$9.4 million, were destined for Britain.

    British representation in Maldives is managed from the British High Commission in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Working through the Maldives Embassy in London and in the British High Commission in Colombo, the Maldives Government works with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO), UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) and the Department for International Development (DFID) to promote and strengthen bilateral ties between the two countries.

    Maldives foreign policy is founded upon pursuing the key national interests of national development, international peace and security, promoting human rights and upholding the principles of the UN Charter. Accordingly, Maldives is party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and numerous conventions promoting international trade and development, peace, environmental protection, health, and human rights.

    Current Foreign Policy

    Vision

    To strive to make Maldivians proud by making the country a resilient nation

    Mission

    To increase opportunities for the economic advancement of Maldivians and to promote the national interests of the Maldives through innovative approaches

    Principles

    1. Sovereign equality of States in accordance with international law
    2. A rule-based and inclusive international system
    3. Non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries
    4. The supremacy of diplomacy in managing and resolving global problems
    5. Friendship with all countries based on mutual respect

    Goals

    1. Enhance the security and national sovereignty of the Maldives through increased bilateral and multilateral engagement
    2. Protect the Islamic identity of the Maldives and help to promote the values of Islam internationally
    3. Increase the economic resilience of the Maldives
    4. Promote greater regional cooperation in South Asia
    5. Provide quality consular services for Maldivians
    6. Promote efficiency and professionalism in the service

    Global presence

    Maldives retains diplomatic relations with 135 countries, and maintains 13 resident missions in Bangladesh, China, the European Union, India, Japan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, the United Nations (Geneva), the United Nations (New York) and the United Kingdom.

    Following Independence, Maldives joined the United Nations (UN) in 1965 and became a founding member of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) in 1985. Maldives later became a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in 1995, the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) in 2005 and the International Labor Organization (ILO) in 2009. Currently, Maldives is a member of 63 international organizations.

    Furthermore, in recent years Maldives has taken lead role in promoting regional collaboration and security in South Asia by hosting the SARRC summit in 2011 and providing the current Secretary-General of SAARC, H.E. Mr Ahmed Saleem.

    Climate change

    Maldives recognises that climate change is the biggest threat of our times, threatening not just the existence of Maldives, but the entire planet. The interests of all countries can only be achieved by combatting this threat.

    As a prominent voice in the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and the G77, Maldives has taken a lead role in international negotiations on climate change and environmental protection. Maldives seeks genuine progress in climate change politics – binding commitments that will tackle the urgent threat of climate change in practice.

    On environmental issues, Maldives leads by example. As one of only three counties to have ever graduated from the United Nations’ ‘Least Developed Countries’ category, Maldives has achieved much while relying on sustainable practices. By establishing the Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, pledging to turn the whole of Maldives into a Biosphere Reserve by 2017, and committing to become the world’s first carbon neutral country by 2020, Maldives hopes to demonstrate that an alternative model of development is possible.

    © 2018 Embassy of the Republic of Maldives. All Rights Reserved.

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