European Union | 05 June 2020
Seychelles national climate change policy: to better understand the impact of climate change and develop resilience
As the world celebrates the Environment Day today, the Ambassador of the European Union Vincent Degert and French Ambassador Dominique Mas have commended the government on the approval of the climate change policy, which sets the vision for a sustainable, climate resilient and low carbon Seychelles.
French Ambassador Mas said: “Climate change and environmental degradation are existential threats to the world. Deadly droughts, cyclones, floods and fires are making the headlines practically every day and are stark reminders of how vulnerable we are to climate change. Scientific evidence of micro-plastics found in the fish we eat and the degraded air we breathe because of increasing pollution point to the health risk that we are exposed to as our environment degrades."
European Union Ambassador Degert added: "The situation is without any doubt alarming as warned by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. This is why the European Union has taken the firm commitment to make climate change and environmental protection its top priorities. The Green Deal sets the path to make Europe the first climate neutral continent by 2050. We are pleased to see that Seychelles shares this objective. With its newly adopted climate change policy, the country also embraces a similar vision of sustainability and carbon-reduction.”
As a small island state, Seychelles is highly vulnerable to the negative impact of climate change and this directly affects its population. For instance, as sea level rises and the beaches get eroded, this impacts directly on the tourism industry which is a backbone of the economy and the biggest employer on the island.
In the same way, coral bleaching which is a consequence of global warming means less fish in the lagoons and less revenue for the fishermen.
Climate change has a direct impact on the life of the population. The climate change policy has been prepared to ensure that there is a better scientific understanding of climate change and its impact on Seychelles. It also prioritises the reinforcement of institutional capacities to better respond to climate change, to mainstream climate change in all relevant sectors, to achieve the transition to a low-carbon economy. Finally, it also prioritises the development of resilience to climate change by for instance investing into disaster risk reduction and management and developing infrastructures to protect the shore line.
Seychelles has maintained its commitment to address climate change against the background of the COVID pandemic and the approval of the above policy as soon as lockdown was lifted bears testimony to this engagement.
Under the Global Climate Change Alliance Plus programme funded by the European Union (EU), a long term service contract is in place to support the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change in strengthening the climate change sector policy framework. The ministry has benefitted from the presence of a long-term expert since October 2017. Among key achievements to date, the support facilitated the alignment and mainstreaming of the climate change strategy, the improvement in climate governance and accountability, the enhanced capacity of government of Seychelles to plan for, access, deliver, monitor and report on climate finance, and improved sector institutional and organisation capacity to support the implementation of climate action.
As the service contract comes to an end in July 2020, the EU support has ensured considerable capacity building within the ministry to take the work on climate action forward. Documents developed that can serve as basis to continue the work include the update of the climate change strategy; the climate change capacity needs assessment and the climate public expenditure and institutional review, plus many others. Close cooperation with the recently commenced UNDP Climate Promise initiative will also contribute to the sustainability of GCCA+ project activities.
The European Union and the Republic of Seychelles have a solid partnership which started in 1977. Over more than four decades, Seychelles has received €40 million in development aid from the European Union under successive European Development Funds, covering various sectors, from environment to economic reform programme and education.
Seychelles and the EU have a longstanding partnership in the areas of trade (Economic Partnership Agreement) and fisheries (Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement) and climate change. For the period 2014-2020, Seychelles has an allocation of €10 million to implement the Economic Partnership Agreement which adds to the bilateral envelope of €2.2 million. Seychelles also benefits from several other EU instruments including:
- the European External Investment Plan (rehabilitation and extension of the Port Victoria project),
- regional programmes (notably those implemented by the Indian Ocean Commission - IOC),
- the Common Security and Defence Policy (EUVAFOR Operation Atalanta),
- the Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA +)
- the thematic budget lines for Environment and Non State Actors.
Press release from the European Union