This past February, on the heels of the forced removal of the democratically-elected President of the Maldives (and international climate action champion) Mohamed Nasheed, we wrote about the oft-neglected political factors of climate vulnerability, stating:
The tragic case of the Maldives is a wake up call, as it demonstrates that even those nations that are currently and very obviously affected by climate change, and are leading the attempt to do something about it, can quickly lose their capacity to prepare for it. As such, policy-makers across the globe that are fashioning solutions to climate change need to take a much closer look at the local political variables that factor into climate vulnerability. The almost exclusive focus by climate practitioners on other environmental and social indicators, such as variable rainfall, water scarcity, and migration, and particular technical schemes to do something about them, just won’t be enough. Solutions will need to address much larger and less technical issues, including improving governance “across the board,” not just for particular resources or issue sets. If the relationship between citizen and government is poor, climate resilience suffers.
Unfortunately, the new and illegitimate government of the Maldives may be proving that thesis right. According to a piece in Media Global News, the country has forfeited its previous position as a leader in the developing world for action on climate change and renewable energy development, and has failed, through both negligence and the inability to inspire confidence in investors, to attract the funds necessary for climate and energy projects planned by the previous government.
It would seem that at least in this case, the climate resilience of a country is tied to its political resilience.