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Ministry of Environment Energy and Climate Change (MEECC) | 08 June 2020

Ministry of Environment Energy and Climate Change (MEECC)

Ministry of Environment Energy and Climate Change (MEECC)

MEECC hosts quarterly review of ongoing projects and activities

 

The Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change (MEECC) hosted its second press conference for the year on Friday where Minister Wallace Cosgrow and his two principal secretaries – Wills Agricole (Energy and Climate Change) and Alain Decomarmond (Environment) talked about the ongoing projects.

The press conference, held at the ministry’s headquarters at Le Chantier Mall, formed part of activities to commemorate Environment Day.

Minister Cosgrow highlighted the importance of the World Environment Day which had as theme: ‘Biodiversity’.

“This is a very important day on the calendar of the ministry. The theme is very fitting for Seychelles and it is very important for us to rethink our interaction with nature now and how our future generations can benefit from nature also! The MEECC has been working on various projects including strategies since the beginning of the year. We are, today, providing you all with updates on all these policies and strategies which are important for us at this moment.”

He also noted that already 30% of our seas have been designated as nature reserve and they are currently working on the framework.

 

Environmental Performance Index (EPI) – Seychelles ranked 1st in Sub-Saharan Africa

Minister Cosgrow also announced that “the results of the Environmental Performance Index (EPI) was announced on June 4, 2020, where Seychelles was ranked 38th out of 180 countries worldwide and top in Sub-Saharan Africa. Seychelles was also ranked first on climate change actions.

The EPI is a method of quantifying and numerically marking the environmental performance of a state's policies. It identifies targets for several core environmental policy categories and measures how close countries come to meet them. It is jointly implemented by two US Universities (Yale/New Haven and Columbia/New York) and has been commissioned by the World Economic Forum/Davos.

 

Environment department

-          Waste Management and Glass Recycling Projects (Waste Enforcement and Permit Division)

PS Decomarmond noted that last year they had a long consultation process to draft a master plan for waste management with the different stakeholders.

“We compiled all the ideas from all stakeholders and as of now we will start acting upon them. Each stakeholder has their role to play. Our mandate is to reduce, reuse and recycle. One of our programmes we are embarking on in the next few months is recycling glass bottles. We tendered the process end of last year for the redeem centres and for the recycling plant. This process is over now. With the recycled bottles we will use them to cover the landfills and we are also working with the Seychelles Land Transport Authority to make use of the finely crushed bottles. By September, we plan to have these businesses start operating.”

He also noted that in order to reduce the number of plastic bottles in the landfills – be it oil bottles, water bottles or lemonades – the public need to remove them from their trash and recycle them. When returning each glass bottle you get R2 and for each pet bottle you get R0.50.

Regarding recycling bins, PS Decomarmond noted that due to a restriction of foreign exchange, the MEECC has not been able to acquire the bins but are looking into producing them locally.

A new decision also concerns the importation of empty cans. As from July, each empty can will incur a levy of R1.

-          Plastic packaging used in shops

Another measure announced by PS Decomarmond is that the plastic packaging used in shops mainly for snacks, fruits and veggies will be banned as from January 2021.

“We have been lenient about the usage of these plastics but after talking to the retailers association, we want by January 2021 to phase out on the plastics and start using other alternatives.

-          Implementation of fixed penalty of R500 on lighting fires after processing restriction

According to the MEECC, a new law regarding the lighting of fires came into force early this year to tackle the issue of fire lighting and with this law each offender has to pay a fixed penalty of R500.

“The public needs to understand that if they do not have a permit, they cannot light a fire on their grounds. If a person has more than two fixed penalties, he/she will have to pay a fixed penalty of R1500. And if he/she does not honour the payment within two weeks a case will be lodged in court and risks to pay a fine of between R5000 and R500,000 or two years imprisonment. We have been very lenient in the past, but now they will have to understand that the law is very serious.”

-          Volunteer programme for the sea turtle nesting season

It has always been a challenge for the MEECC to monitor that poaching does not occur. “We have decided to launch a volunteer programme for the public to come and help the MEECC and other organisations who are involved in the monitoring of sea turtles. As from next week, the public will get more information on how to apply for this programme.

 

Energy and Climate Change department

PS Agricole proudly noted that “Seychelles remains a frontrunner in the fields of climate change mitigation and adaptation actions and measures with the help of its development partners such as UNDP, EU and the World Bank. Therefore, the government of Seychelles has adopted several initiatives over the past year with the aim of strengthening its resilience and increasing preparedness to such effects”.

-          Green Climate Fund (GCF) Green Champion Awards

In recognition of Seychelles’ plight against climate change, in December 2019, PS Agricole was awarded one of six Green Climate Fund (GCF) Green Champion Awards in the Transformational Country Green Champion category at COP 25 in Madrid, Spain. This award recognises and promotes successful efforts and initiatives to combat climate change through environmental, social and business-led commitments and his dedication to climate action in a small island developing State (Sids).

-          Mitigation actions

To achieve energy security, Seychelles started to shift away from fossil fuel and embrace energy efficiency and renewable energy on a large scale. This has enabled the country to slowly meet its energy needs, lower its carbon emissions and mitigate the adverse effects of climate change, provide energy to the population at affordable prices and achieve UN SDG 7 on access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.

-          Renewable energy

The solar farm project consisting of the 5MW solar farm and the democratisation of 1MW photo-voltaic project on Ile Romainville is expected to be completed by the end of 2020, both of which are expected to contribute significantly to the country’s goal towards meeting 5% and 15% of the country’s total energy demand through renewable energy by 2020 and 2030 respectively.

“The 5MWp solar farm is being funded through a concessional loan amounting to approximately US $8.5 million, payable at a 2 percent interest rate, from the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) – Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD), with the remaining US $1.7 million from PUC’s own equity, bringing the project total to US $10.2 million. Together as a country, all of this investment in renewable energy will help us achieve our 5% target of energy production through renewable sources before the end of 2020 and 15% by 2030. This will help us continue to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. It is a very ambitious target.”

Concurrent to the 5MWp solar farm project on Ile de Romainville is the democratisation of PV project aims at helping welfare beneficiaries and government agencies with solar PV technology. Under the project, 87 households will have the capacity to produce 3 kilowatt peak (3kWp) through rooftop PV installations, equating 300 units of electricity monthly, the units consumed by a typical household in Seychelles. Forty-two panels will also be installed at the Barbarons emergency housing estate. In view of unstable rooftops, some households will benefit from a collective 1MW solar farm which is soon-to-be completed on Ile de Romainville. Eleven government institutions will also benefit from 30kWp, 90kWp and 180 kWp units including the coastguard base, Victoria Gymnasium, National Assembly and seven hospitals. The contract was awarded to SEFTECH (India).

The photovoltaic (PV) project will double the amount of renewable energy produced as well as considerably reduce the emission of greenhouse gases related to fossil fuel consumption, and curtail the annual fuel consumption. It will have the capacity to produce 7GWh yearly, which translates into 1.5 percent of the country’s annual energy demand, and the electricity needs of approximately 2,000 homes

-          Green transport and E-mobility strategy

On green transport, Seychelles has drawn up a national e-mobility strategy and regulatory and policy frameworks for electric vehicles, including business models and fiscal schemes to incentivise people to switch to electric cars with the assistance of UN-Environment at cost of US $500,000

-          Adaptation actions

Seychelles is utterly dedicated toward ecosystem restoration through an EBA project – where there has been destruction due to natural causes, we now build and rehabilitate! Ecosystem restoration projects, especially those related to mangroves, sea grass and coral reefs have been prioritised and activities to improve marine and coastal biodiversity and conserve ecosystem health are being actively pursued, however there is an ever-increasing need of financing for adaptation.

-          Implementation of Coastal Management Plan (CMP) and Coastal Erosion

With the development of the first Coastal Management Plan (CMP) costing US $15 million to implement, Seychelles has started to address the hazards affecting its coastal zones. The CMP was developed in consultation with all stakeholders to enhance understanding about the risks that are associated with climate change and development pressures around the coastal zones in Seychelles. The Plan takes into consideration existing studies that focuses on coastal hazards relating to overtopping, sea level rise and flooding along the shoreline in Seychelles plus nature-based solutions. Quite a number of coastal rehabilitation and protection projects have been done on Mahé, Praslin and La Digue. The World Bank is assisting Seychelles with a coastal study on four sites namely, Beau Vallon, Au Cap, Côte D’Or and Anse Kerlan to come up with a sustainable methodology of coastal protection of the four coastal sites. The study is being undertaken this month.

-          Improve storm water and drainage flows

Drainage on La Digue is a problem, and government has increased its resources through the National Budget to help solve this problem. R10 million from the Environment Trust Fund (ETF) has been dedicated to accelerate and complete drainage projects on La Digue.

 

-          National Climate Change Policy and establishment of National Climate Change Council

The department has made tremendous progress in terms of establishing the necessary framework in dealing with the issues at hand, which includes the development of the new Climate Change Policy. The policy was approved by cabinet in May 2020, having as vision “A sustainable, climate resilient and low-carbon Seychelles’ plus six strategic objectives. The formulation of the policy took a consultative approach, which involved numerous stakeholder engagements. It calls for the establishment of a National Climate Change Council which is a coordination mechanism comprising 15 members chaired by the vice-president and will have a secretariat to support it.

-          Review of Seychelles Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC)

The Seychelles Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) is being revised and up-scaled and will include a chapter dedicated on ocean to be submitted in November 2021 at UNFCCC COP26 to be held in Glasgow, UK

-          Way forward

Seychelles as a Sids must continue to show leadership on climate action and ambition in the fight against climate change by building momentum for the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

Even as Seychelles moves forward with reducing global emissions, it must accelerate adaptation efforts to better manage the risks associated with climate change.

Seychelles’ climate action has contributed in creating a climate-smart resilient islands and as a result, it underscores the longstanding commitment of Seychelles to doing our part in bringing about the needed systemic transitions.

Seychelles recognises that building resilience to climate change and committing to low-emission development pathways provide a firm basis for continued growth and sustainable development.

 

Vidya Gappy

 

 

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