Located in the north-central Indian Ocean, the Maldives is made of up around 1,200 small islands, with only about 200 being inhabited. The stunning natural beauty of the islands has made the Maldives a world-renowned tourist destination, which has helped the country move from one of the poorest in the world in the 1980s to middle-income status today. It is sometimes referred to as a development “success story” for this reason. However, the country still faces challenges, most notably from the very geography that has made it such a desired destination. With all of the islands at or barely above sea level, the threat from rising seas due to climate change is extremely high. Additionally, the country faces issues with political instability and difficulty providing services to the resident population.