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Maldives battles rising tides with floating golf course plan

The island nation of the Maldives, confronted by rising oceans and a landscape that is just a few feet above sea level, 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 posed by global warming and the rising oceans.

The country's government has signed an agreement with a Dutch firm to investigate the feasibility of developing a number of facilities that would be located among the 26 main atolls. It is likely the Dutch Docklands company will also look into the possibility of building floating homes. It has built floating islands in Dubai.

“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, Mr Nasheed, a former political prisoner, has been quick to prioritise 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.

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