|For as well as being blessed with sun-kissed paradise islands and pale, white sands, this tourist haven is cursed with mounting evidence of an environmental catastrophe.
To the naked eye, the signs of climate change are almost imperceptible, but the country's 360,000 citizens would be forced to evacuate. The Maldives' survival as a sovereign nation is truly at stake. 80% of its 1,200 islands are no more than 1m above sea level, within 100 years the Maldives could become uninhabitable.
No wonder it was the first country to sign up to the Kyoto Protocol, which sets targets for cuts in industrialised countries' greenhouse gas emissions. No wonder that Male, the capital, is surrounded by a 3m-high (9.8ft) wall, which took 14 years to construct at a cost of $63m. Unable to foot the bill