Management planning for protected areas in Seychelles


08-May-2017

Well-managed protected areas are central to the achievement of the Seychelles National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan 2015 —2020, the global Aichi Biodiversity Targets and the Sustainable Development Goals.

The expectations society places on protected areas are tremendous: protect biodiversity, maintain or increase the flow of ecosystem services, promote sustainable use of natural resources to benefit local communities, generate income through ecotourism, and much more. Given the many demands placed on protected areas, how can we effectively plan their management in a way that yields these many benefits and at the same time involve stakeholders as partners? How can we evaluate the many tradeoffs between tourism and biodiversity protection that are inherent in protected area management? Over time, how can we know if we are successful?

These questions continually confront protected areas managers. They underline the importance of planning based on sound principles and concepts, best practices and appropriate knowledge.  In many cases, following legislative direction or agency policy, managers of protected areas need to make tradeoffs between visitor access and potential impacts on natural resources and biodiversity. Visitors are managed to fulfill these mandates but also to build constituencies for protected areas by generating income and improving the human condition. 

In Seychelles, the existing set of protected areas is relatively complex.  The Protected Area Policy (2013) simplify the categories of PAs to harmonise with international (IUCN) categories, which are used by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and international institutions. The Policy defines five categories of protected area: Strict Nature Reserve (ICUN Ia), Ecological Reserve (IUCN IV), National Park (IUCN II), Protected Landscape/seascape (IUCN V) and Sustainable Use Area (IUCN VI).  Under a new Bill to be put forward this year, following up on the Protected Area Policy, all these will need management plans. 

From April 25-27, 2017 the GOS-UNDP-GEF Protected Areas Finance (PAF) project in collaboration with the GOS-UNDP-GEF Outer Island (OI) project, held a three-day training workshop for protected area managers in Seychelles. The training aimed to help managers to develop effective and appropriate management strategies for the variety of issues which arise in their conservation areas. Participants had an opportunity to enhance their critical thinking skills, learn new skills relevant to protected area planning and ‒ through group work ‒ discuss and develop competency in choosing management strategies and techniques appropriate for their protected areas.

An additional training session was conducted on April 28 for the Seychelles Fishing Authority, fishermen’s associations, and other stakeholders to introduce key planning concepts for marine conservation and sustainable use areas, which are to be introduced into Seychelles’ protected area system as part of the on-going Marine Spatial Planning exercise.

Training was facilitated by Charles Besancon, who has over 25 years of professional experience with protected areas management, policy and monitoring.  Training was attended by 32 participants from Seychelles National Parks Authority, Island Conservation Society, Fisherman and Boat Owners Association, Seychelles Fishing Authority, Seychelles Islands Foundation, Sea Cucumber Fishers Association, Fond Ferdinand Foundation, Marine Conservation Society of Seychelles, The Nature Conservancy Seychelles, Green Island Foundation, Fregate Island and the Department of Environment.

For more information on the projects, please visit: PAF LINK

GOS-UNDP-GEF OI Project:

-                       http://www.pcusey.sc/index.php/pcu-projects/ongoing/141-oi-project

-                       http://www.islandconservationseychelles.com/gos-undp-gef-outer-islands-project.html

GOS-UNPD-GEF PA Project: http://www.pcusey.sc/index.php/pcu-projects/ongoing/174-protected-areas-finance-project

 

 

Contributed by: GOS-UNDP-GEF Outer island Project & Protected Area Finance Project

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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