President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih announced on Tuesday his decision to designate twelve ecologically rich areas in the Vaavu and Baa Atolls as environmentally protected. This decision follows the cabinet's recommendation and was made after a thorough cabinet deliberation on a paper submitted by the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, and Technology.

The twelve areas that will be granted protected status under the Environmental Protection and Preservation Act (Law No. 04/93) include Kavarufalhu, Fohtheyo, Hingaakulhi Lagoon, Thuduhuraa, Ruh Huri Huraa, Rakeedhoo Corner, Fushifaru Reef, and Huraa Lagoon in the Vaavu Atoll. In  Baa Atoll, Huraafaru, Dharavandhoo Thila, Nelivaru, and Innafushi areas will also receive this designation.

Each area has been identified as having rich ecosystems that host various fauna and marine species. Their preservation is deemed crucial for future generations of Maldivians. The relevant ministries were consulted regarding the protection of these areas.

Protecting these sites aligns with the administration's Strategic Action Plan 2019–2023, which mandates the protection of at least 10 per cent of coral reefs and 20 per cent of wetlands and mangroves. The Environmental Protection and Preservation Act also stipulates the protection of at least one island, one lagoon, one reef, and one wetland from each atoll.