London: Reports indicate that the Islands of the Maldives is poised to build a floating golf course and convention centre in what could be the first of a series of futuristic off-shore developments designed to counter the threat of global warming.
According to a report in The Independent, the country’s government has signed a deal with a Dutch firm to investigate the feasibility of developing facilities that would be located among the 26 main atolls.
It is likely the company, Dutch Docklands, which has built floating islands in Dubai, will also look into the possibility of floating homes in the Maldives.
“The methods and procedures developed by the company for floating developments reduce the impact on underwater life, and minimise the changes to coastal morphology,” said a statement issued by the office of president Mohamed Nasheed.
Since coming to office in late 2008, Nasheed, a former political prisoner, has been quick to prioritize climate change as one of the most pressing threats to his nation, which is made up of a total of 1,200 islands.
One of his first announcements after defeating former dictator Maumoon Abdul Gayoom was a plan to try to buy an alternative homeland – possibly in Sri Lanka or India – because of the threat to his nation, more than 80% of which is no more than a metre above sea level.
Parts of the capital, Male, are protected by a 3m-high wall that cost more than £30 million and took 14 years to build.
The UN has forecast that the oceans are likely to rise by up to 60cm by 2100.
After the Asian tsunami in 2004, up to 40% of the Maldives was under water.
A hundred people died, which spurred the authorities to think about relocating people from the lowest-lying islands.
In Kandholhudhoo, about 60% of residents have volunteered to evacuate within 15 years.
Ahead of last year’s Copenhagen climate change summit, the president drew attention to the likely fate of the Maldives by holding an underwater cabinet meeting at which he and his ministers used scuba equipment.
Nasheed has also announced plans to turn the islands carbon-neutral in 10 years.