Abu Dhabi helps with designing strategic plan for Seychelles


Stakeholders during the first workshop yesterday

This is according to the project director of the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC), Theyab Al Nahyan, who visited Seychelles with his team for the first workshop aimed at developing a strategic plan for Seychelles and a master plan for the capital city of Victoria.

“The plan will articulate a clear vision for Seychelles,” said Mr Al Nahyan. “The success of the plan relies on capturing local knowledge and identifying opportunities for growth. This is a plan for the Seychelles that will be completed by the people of Seychelles. The technical support offered by the UPC is only a tool to help reach this goal.”

Mr Al Nahyan said both the Seychelles and the UAE governments shared a similar vision for sustainable development and a balanced environment.

“This opportunity to work side by side with the progressive Seychelles government to develop a social, economic, environmental and culturally responsible document is something we are proud to be part of,” he said.

“The Seychelles and Abu Dhabi governments have proved a very strong relationship through valued initiatives through the years. The urban planning council is committed to contributing significantly towards our relationship by assisting with the preparation of the Seychelles strategic plan.”

“In the Emirates of Abu Dhabi, we have come up with our own master plan to guide investments and infrastructure to make a path forward for new generations to come, in which we have satisfied a mix between our local culture and a global city, and also to inspire economic activity and find a fine balance in between the people and the environment.”

The plan is expected to articulate a clear vision for Seychelles and will set out how places within the Seychelles will develop over the next 20 years. The strategic plan will cover all of the islands that form part of Seychelles but will focus on the main island of Mahé, together with a detailed master plan for the capital city of Victoria.

The Minister for Land Use and Housing Christian Lionnet said the collaboration between the two countries was a result of the signing of a letter of intent in managing the sustainable development of Seychelles in 2011.

“On this note, I would like to acknowledge the remarkable leadership and vision of our head of State, President Michel, who through active diplomacy and close friendship with His Highness Sheikh Khalifa, has made this collaboration a possibility,” said Mr Lionnet.

“This workshop is aimed at gaining the participation of all stakeholders in the finalisation of the terms of reference for the development of the strategic plans.”

“Your contribution today and in the subsequent workshops, is crucial to ensure the outcome portrays our vision and the aspirations of our people for the sustainable development of Seychelles and Victoria, after taking into account our needs and priorities,” said the minister.

Mr Lionnet said it was encouraging to note that the draft terms of reference written by the Urban Planning Council emphasised those needs, namely facilitating economic growth and diversification, striking a balance between the pressing needs of environmental protection and the allocation of land for residential and economic uses, preserving the heritage of Victoria and enhancing the social and cultural aspects of the Seychellois people.

“It is my hope that the plans will complement the work done so far by the Planning Authority to facilitate sustainable development and ease of doing business in Seychelles,” he said.

Gerard Hoareau, chief executive of the Planning Authority, said the master plan for Victoria did not necessarily mean that there would be drastic changes to the capital.

“We recognise the need to preserve our Seychellois identity. I think we need to talk about there being two sectors to the town; we can talk about Old Victoria and New Victoria. So Old Victoria will always be there for us, and New Victoria will have new office complexes and ports and so on. We will make sure there are certain areas on the map of Victoria that are preserved in terms of our culture and identity.”

Mr Hoareau said there would be public consultations in the relevant districts to ensure that the changes proposed would be accepted by the communities affected.

“We would like to encourage people to attend the consultation sessions and participate as much as possible.”

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