Seychelles hosts regional forum on sustainable development education


Prof. Payet addressing delegates at the launch of the workshop yesterday

The week-long meeting which opened yesterday is a key step in the Regional Environmental Education Programme (REEP) which was launched in 1993 and is looking at issues like food security, economic development and climate change.

Those present are laying emphasis on five key areas, namely:
• Support policy, which is aimed at creating an enabling environment for synergy and inclusion of environmental and sustainable development concerns into regional and national education policies, strategies and systems.

• Production of materials needed to support development of institutional and professional capacity within the SADC region.

• Networking and partnerships to secure funding, knowledge resources, exchange and interactions among practitioners within the SADC region and beyond.

• Training to support institutional and professional capacity building processes to respond to environmental and sustainable development challenges.

• Ways of supporting evaluation and research at the regional and national levels.

When launching the meeting, Environment and Energy Minister, Professor Rolph Payet, said preserving the environment is not only about protecting species but working with people and communities to achieve sustainable development on the planet.

He said education is the reason Seychelles has achieved so much in conservation.
“We can never underestimate the power of environmental education. Many of the solutions to the environmental challenges of today lie in environmental education which is initiated in the schools,” he said.

He commended the Ministry of Education for its vision and support in allowing his ministry to work closely with the schools, especially integrating environment within the Seychelles curriculum, and also powerful advocacy and action groups such as the wildlife clubs.

He said the Seychelles Sustainable Development Strategy 2012-2020 gives important and special consideration to education for sustainability.

Prof. Payet noted that the overall aim of REEP is to strengthen environmental education processes for equitable and sustainable environmental management.

“A range of training, material development and networking opportunities were established, followed up with policy support work, and later emphasis on research and evaluation after widespread request from practitioners in the sub-region,” he said, listing the five main components of the SADC REEP programme mentioned earlier.

“The SADC REEP and its partners have developed an approach to environment education that supports individuals, communities and institutions in Southern Africa to strengthen alternatives and capabilities that respond to critical environmental and sustainability issues and risks,” he said.

“This seminar brings us together to reflect on the need for mainstreaming environmental education and education for Sustainable development among middle level managers with the aim of mobilising or strengthening agency among policy and decision makers for leadership in sustainability practices, change choices and crossing policy-practice boundaries.

“It is important to note that several Seychellois have benefited under this programme through various trainings and workshops, including one hosted here in Seychelles last year for environment educators on the use of information technology in the development of learning support materials,” he said.