Maldives has unique development problems. Its population of over a quarter of a million is dispersed over hundreds of low-lying islands. The very survival of these territories is threatened by rising sea levels, linked to the phenomenon of global warming.

EU cooperation recognises the importance of development support to prevent the country from disappearing as the first and most visible victim of climate change.

EU cooperation 2007-13

Environmental sustainability – through regional development – is the main focus of the EU-Maldives Country Strategy (2007-13).  A €4 million allocation was made available under an initial four-year multi-annual indicative programme (2007-10) and a second allocation of € 4 million is foreseen for 2013.

At international level, the EU is helping the Maldives to strengthen its voice at climate change fora and to seek support from organisations and other nations for its survival.

At country level, a ‘safe islands’ approach has been put forward in the government's own national recovery and reconstruction plan. The EU is supporting environmental sustainability – and poverty reduction – by helping to develop sustainable infrastructure and services including safe water, renewable and efficient energy, waste disposal, and the protection of coral reefs.

The EU also provided trade and economic assistance, partly to help cover economic losses suffered as a result of the 2004 tsunami, as well as support to democratisation and good governance by promoting human rights and constitutional reforms.

The Maldives are eligible to EU’s regional and thematic programmes.