Focus on Val Mer for sustainable development day


13-July-2004

Minister Jumeau (left) helps erect bollards to restrict vehicle access along the beach

The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources designated the day for sustainable development – development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs – which was celebrated over the weekend.

Schoolchildren yesterday helped to plant some 50 individual trees and shrubs endemic to Seychelles along the Valmer coast to prevent beach erosion, while Minister Ronny Jumeau took part in erecting bollards – knee-high wooden barriers designed to restrict vehicle access along the beach.

Environment officials said that Valmer had been subject to “joy riders” who would take four-wheel-drive vehicles onto the beach and trample the coastal vegetation so critical to the beach system.

Director for environmental impact assessment Joseph Rath, among the organisers of the event, said that as with other areas like Port Launay, the protection methods employed at Valmer would be maintained weekly.

But Mr Rath said that perhaps the biggest challenge for sustainable development in Seychelles revolved around people – environment policy-makers would like to see the public embrace the measures put in place to protect the environment instead of destroying them.

In the spirit of sustainable development, officials said, the public should be able to enjoy their beaches – as many do with Valmer – but not to the extent where they might endanger the beach in the future.

Seychelles is currently implementing its second Environment Management Plan (EMPS) 2000-2010 after successfully implementing the first EMPS 1990-2000. The overall mission of the second generation plan is “the promotion, coordination and integration of sustainable development programmes that cut across all sectors of society in order to firmly establish Seychelles globally as a committed partner in sustainable development.”

Other policy documents, such as the Ministry of Tourism’s Vision 21 document, Ministry of Education’s National Strategy and Plan and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment’s Statement and Strategy on Social Development for Seychelles Beyond 2000, also guide Seychelles toward sustainability in development.

Internationally, recognised declarations like the Agenda 21 principles agreed at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, the 1994 Barbados Plan of Action specifically for small island developing states, and more recently the Johannesburg World Summit in 2002, have helped to promote sustainable development.

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