misc_people_board

Maldives has had five-year development plans, but no overall long term plans. Development currently depends on promises by political parties. As often happens, even existing land use plans (drawn up for some islands) are swept away to fit party pledges.

Using the following foreign and local investments that have faced difficulty over the recent years due to ad hoc policies and government changes, this governance update will attempt to highlight the dangers of pledge-based development plans compounded by a lack of national and regional development plans. 

Cases referred to in this governance update includes: the airports that has been pledged to be built in Dhigulaabaadhoo and Khulhudhuffushi; Gulhi Falhu development project; the GMR airport deal and the Tsunami aid cases.

Read the full governance bulletin here: CFIP Governance bulletin 06 – 2016

Ma bassaa header photo

Transparency Maldives has launched a campaign called “Ma Bassa”.

“Ma Bassaa” is a campaign by the Climate Integrity Project (CIP) of Transparency Maldives to advocate for and promote “Inclusive Governance”. The aforementioned title of the campaign roughly translates to “include/involve me” in Dhivehi.

Through this campaign we aim to bridge the gap between local communities; CBOs and the implementing agencies and government institutions of the country. For successful implementation of climate change projects in the Maldives, it is essential that local communities have a sense of ownership towards ongoing climate change programs

The consultations for the Assessment of Climate Finance Governance by TM showed unanimity amongst all stakeholders for the need for better governance of climate finds and the need for collaboration between donors, the government and civil society. It is this collaboration that the “Ma Bassaa” campaign aims to facilitate.

We have written a governance update on our campaign and what it entails.
Read out governance update here: Climate Integrity Project, Governance Update August 2016

Screen Shot 2016-06-04 at 2.37.59 PM

With the rapid development of the tourism and fisheries sectors, the Maldives has enjoyed a long period of robust economic growth. The average rate for real GDP increase between 2000 and 2009 has been 6%, which is one of the highest in Asia. Multiple developmental projects, categorized as climate mitigation and adaptation projects, are announced each year from harbour construction and land reclamation to housing, water and sanitation.

However, this development comes at a cost. This governance update will highlight the issues and costs of undertaking developmental projects without long term considerations of climate change mitigation and adaptation.

As Margareta Wahlstrom, the UN Assistant Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction stated, “Climate change is treated as a disaster but it is a very fundamental development issue.”

The majority of the aforementioned projects are in the form of loans and grants from various international donors and organizations, worth millions of dollars, to aid the country in its efforts to combat the negative effects of climate change.

We will also be touching upon the importance of community consultation and participation when implementing developmental projects and the negative consequences of failing to do so.

Read our governance update here: Climate Finance Governance Update May 2016

N30A2690 copy

With the recent Audit report of the Ministry of Environment and Energy and the recommendations of the Auditor General, TM has published a Climate Finance Governance Update highlighting the theme “All climate related expenditure and financial statements must be ensured as free from corruption.”

View the download at: Climate Governance Update June


In 2014 a child custody dispute took place between a Maldivian man, Ahmed Sharaan, and a German woman, Tanja Sharaan. The two had met in 2013 whilst both were working in a Maldivian resort and had subsequently become romantically involved, getting married later in the same year.

Following their nuptials, the two moved to Switzerland, where they had a daughter. When the daughter was 5 months old, the father, unhappy with having to live abroad took forced custody of the child and travelled back to the Maldives without the mother’s knowledge, whilst she was at work.

Tanja subsequently returned to Male’ to try and find her daughter and Ahmed went into hiding with the child. Availing herself of legal counsel at a local firm, Tanja filed a case at the Maldives Family Court to take back custody of her daughter.

The initial difficulty in proceeding with the trial was locating Ahmed, whose lawyer appeared in court in his stead. Ahmed’s lawyer’s chief argument against granting custody to Tanja was that she would raise the child as a non-Muslim, despite Tanja having formally converted to Islam in 2013.

In February 2014 the Family Court ruled in favour of Tanja and ordered Ahmed to give Tanja practical custody of the child within 24 hours. Ahmed remained in hiding and, through his lawyer, appealed the decision to the High Court, which issued an injunction temporarily halting the Family Court order until the matter was deliberated upon by the Superior Court. This was done without the mother being given any prior notice.

The High Court ordered Ahmed to attend court in person and he subsequently came out of hiding to become involved in the court proceedings. During the proceedings, Tanja, who cannot speak Dhivehi, was not provided an interpreter by the state, as is constitutionally required.

On 20th March however, the High Court upheld the decision of the Family Court, granting Tanja custody of the child, on the condition that she could not leave the Maldives as this would contradict the visitation rights of the father. Tanja was subsequently able to overturn the court imposed limitation on her freedom to travel and has since moved abroad and filed for divorce.

It should be noted that despite the case being resolved in the mother’s favour there were serious issues with how the trial preceded that detrimentally affected the quality of justice she received. That an important injunction affecting her case was issued without giving her any notice was highly problematic. Also of concern was that Tanja was not given an interpreter despite her inability to speak in Dhivehi, which was a serious impediment with regard to her ability to access justice in the Maldives as a foreigner. Article 51 of the Maldivian constitution delineates an interpreter as a right to be afforded to a party to a dispute in the event that that party does not understand the language in which proceedings are being conducted.

View/download a PDF of Case Study: Custody dispute between Maldivian and foreign national