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GEF ISLANDS - Implementing Sustainable Low and Non-Chemicals Development in Small Island Developing States | 26 February 2020

GEF ISLANDS - Implementing Sustainable Low and Non-Chemicals Development in Small Island Developing States

Delegates and guests in a souvenir photograph after the workshop’s opening ceremony yesterday (Photo: Louis Toussaint)

US $13 million for the Indian Ocean Child Project


Seychelles is hosting a regional workshop for the preparation of a GEF-financed project for small islands states.

This regional project includes the Indian Ocean islands of Comoros, Maldives, Mauritius and Seychelles with a focus on implementing sustainable low and non-chemicals development and addressing the issues of hazardous waste and waste management and disposal. 

Under the Indian Ocean Child Project, the four countries will have a funding of US $13 million shared out as follows: Comoros (US $4 million), Maldives (US $2 million), Mauritius (US $4.5 million) and Seychelles (US $2.5 million). However 10% from each country’s budget will be allocated to the regional component.

Did you know that in Seychelles some 2.5 million bottles are collected and processed monthly? With the trend of life we are adopting, we tend to forget how much waste each of us is producing. This workshop brings together experts within the region and from different organisations to share their experiences and engage in discussions but most importantly agree on actions needed to manage chemical substances and waste in our respective countries.

GEF ISLANDS seeks to prevent future build up of toxic substances in the territories of small island developing states (Sids); unlock resources for integrated chemicals and waste management and develop the mechanisms to manage products, materials and substances that cannot be avoided. The programme was approved by GEF Council in June 2019 and 30 Sids participate worldwide with a funding of $66 million.

The GEF ISLANDS has four components.

Component 1: Preventing future build-up of chemicals in the Sids environment;

Component 2: Safe management and disposal of existing, historically produced wastes posing an immediate risk to people and natural resources;

Component 3: Promoting systems for future management of wastes and chemicals entering Sids by adopting and putting into practice 3R approaches including increased recovery of resources from wastes by adopting the principles of sustainable consumption and production;

Component 4: Sharing knowledge and experience across all regions to address issues common to all Sids and to stimulate inter regional cooperation to combat major global level challenges posed by wastes such as plastics, electronics and other major pollutants.

Roland Alcindor, programme manager, UNDP Seychelles, talked about the various projects UNDP is supporting within the SIDS.

“Seychelles is very grateful to GEF as they have been supported us in various ongoing projects. Seychelles is considered as the highest per capita of GEF resources in the world because we are a small population with big projects. The rich portfolio of environmental projects supported by UNDP GEF are Ridge to Reef; Resource Efficiency; Ecosystem Based adaptation to climate change focusing on water and flooding; Outer islands environmental management; Protected Area Finance; Access and Benefit sharing; BIOFIN and Blue Economy (nature-based solution in support of Blue Economy Strategy (under development). UNDP’s upgraded Sids offer focuses on turning challenges into opportunities. Based on national demand and needs, we are here to support the countries,” explained Mr Alcindor.

Nanette Laure, director general of Waste Enforcement and Permit Division from the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change, explained that “as small island developing states, we are often not producers of those waste, however in view that we are at the receiving end, we remain highly exposed and vulnerable to the impacts of chemicals and waste. In addition to that, we lack suitable resources and technical expertise and in often cases, there is a lack of facilities for proper storage and disposal of those types of waste. Suitable financial planning for the complete cycle of waste management are most often not well developed in most small island developing states, resulting in underfunded operations. And in many circumstances, tools for mobilising financial resources are often lacking, therefore, through this workshop, I am sure that we will discuss ways to identify new tools or mechanisms for the purpose”.

Ms Laure also noted that in Seychelles several attempts have been made at country level to address the challenges of managing waste through coherent framework, legislative review and a number of studies conducted by different universities which have yielded a series of recommendations. Seychelles’ task remains to implement the actions on the ground with the available resources and commitments.

The delegates also learned from Mauritius and a company called ‘Polyeco’ on the design and implementation of a collection, packaging, interim storage and export system for hazardous wastes. They will also talk about the UNDP strategy on Sids and some bilateral meetings will take place. Tomorrow the delegates will visit the Redeem center for PET and aluminum can, the landfill and the processing of PET for export.

The two-day workshop which started yesterday is being held at the Savoy Resort & Spa, Beau Vallon. 


Vidya Gappy


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