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Setting up a locally managed marine area in Seychelles | 18 September 2019

Setting up a locally managed marine area in Seychelles

Guests and stakeholders in a souvenir photograph to mark the occasion

Nature Seychelles receives €680,000 grant from IKI

 

Nature Seychelles has received a grant of €680,000 from the German International Climate Initiative (IKI) through the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to set up a locally managed marine area (LMMA) in Seychelles, the first of its kind in the country.

The project was launched yesterday at the Nature Seychelles Sanctuary at Roche Caiman.

The ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Seychelles, Annett Günther, officially launched this project in the presence of the Minister for Environment, Energy and Climate Change, Wallace Cosgrow, the representative from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Charles Oluchina and representatives from the government and the civil society.

Funded byIKI through IUCN, the project is a component of the regional ‘Enhancing coastal and marine socio-ecological resilience and biodiversity conservation in the Western Indian Ocean’ project, and will cost €4.25 million. It will be implemented in Seychelles by Nature Seychelles with international technical assistance from IUCN.

The Seychelles component will cost almost €1 million, with €680,000 from IKI, and counterpart funding from Nature Seychelles, together with the technical and capacity building assistance from IUCN. The project, which will last for 4 years, has the political support from the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change (MEECC) and the Blue Economy department.

“Today it is icing on the cake as I am here to launch the first project in this country to be funded by IKI. This is a regional project covering Seychelles and Mozambique and some participation from Kenya and Tanzania and is coordinated by IUCN. The project is being financed by IKI for €4.25 million. In Seychelles as you know it is being implemented by the multiple award winning Seychellois NGO, the well-known Nature Seychelles. Nature Seychelles will receive €680,000 to set up a locally managed marine area in Seychelles including field staff, build infrastructure and start conservation, awareness, livelihood and policy actions.

The project is supported by the Seychelles government, notably by the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change and the Blue Economy department,” noted the German ambassador.

She also explained that “the IKI is part of the German Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety - BMUB. Since 2008, IKI has been financing climate and biodiversity projects in developing and newly industrialised countries, as well as in countries in transition. The IKI is a key element of Germany’s climate financing and the funding commitments in the framework of the Convention on Biological Diversity. The initiative places clear emphasis on climate change mitigation, adaptation to the impacts of climate change and the protection of biological diversity. These efforts provide various co-benefits, particularly the improvement of living conditions in partner countries”.

Dr Nirmal Shah noted that “this is a regional project involving Seychelles and Mozambique but also with lessons learnt from Kenya and Tanzania. Essentially it is to set up an LMMA which are marine and coastal areas managed and run by communities, local people, businesses and so forth. The government has to be involved obviously. The grant we are getting is to set up a one element only. We are lucky to have the IUCN to help us with international tools and experts so that we can benchmark these practices so that when we are successful at the end of four years we can also try and see other places where we can replicate the locally managed approach”.

Dr Shah further explained that “right now, we have various assessments to be done as we do not have to choose a site randomly and we have to assess the community, biodiversity, the challenges and issues. Once a site is chosen, we will work with the locals, the member of the National Assembly, the district administrator to set up a management committee and set up an infrastructure with staff including lifeguards. Towards the end of the project, we will start thinking about how to replicate the project in terms of policy and law. That is why it is important to work with the government”.

Dr Shah explained that it is a risk-taking project but Nature Seychelles is known for taking up these challenges. This has never been done in Seychelles like coral saving and bird saving. We have had a lot of international projects with large multi-million dollars before and we are used to dealing with large donors. We are very happy to work with IUCN and to help bring the certification of a green list issued by the IUCN in Seychelles,” concluded Dr Shah.

It has been noted that local-level benefits from conservation are not properly maximised in the Western Indian Ocean region, because those who use the resources rarely play an equal role in decision-making and in the management of marine protected areas.

The project will engage at multiple levels in order to establish an LMMA and will involve community members, fishers association, tourism and business partners, and government agencies in one site chosen through assessments and participatory processes with stakeholders.

The results will include infrastructure, technical and other staff on site, conservation and restoration actions, training and equipment, public awareness programmes, and introduction of sustainable funding mechanisms.

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