SeyCCAT kicks off activities for its 5th anniversary |10 November 2020
The Seychelles’ Conservation and Climate Adaptation Trust (SeyCCAT) yesterday organised an exhibition and a talk at the Seychelles Museum of History as part of activities to mark its 5th anniversary.
During the event, the names of awardees of the small-medium grants-blue grants fund 4 were revealed. Mariette Dine – Supporting research thesis of MSC student at UniSey on alternative livelihoods using seaweed; Susan Ansell – Supporting boardwalk for mangroves forest near International School Seychelles; Sheena Talma – Feasibility study of a traffic-light system for sustainable fisheries in restaurants; WiseOceans – Training of best practice for snorkel guides for different tour operators; Marcus Valentin – Eco-school clubs set up at La Digue school, including dive courses for youth; Laura Valentino – Children’s book on endemic plants and seabirds and Robert Mondon – Children’s book about ‘Sootina’.
The event was graced by the Minister for Finance, Economic Planning and Trade Naadir Hassan, the Minister for Agriculture, Climate Change and Environment Flavien Joubert and the French ambassador Dominic Mas.
The chief executive of SeyCCAT, Angelique Pouponneau, gave a talk about the achievement of the organisation since its set-up five years ago on November 9, 2015.
“Although a small organisation, SeyCCAT has disrupted the Blue economy landscape by ensuring the inclusion of more actors in the development of the Blue economy by providing grants to support Seychellois ideas. Through the grants, we ensure that the Blue economy is driven and owned by the people themselves to take action to secure their sustainable future.
“In only five years, we have evolved from an organisation created to facilitate a transaction (i.e. the debt-for-nature swap) to be a name on the world stage in supporting the government of Seychelles to meet their ocean conservation and climate action ambitions and a model for other conservation trust funds. SeyCCAT devotes a lot of its time to mobilising more resources to invest in Seychelles’ blue future.”
SeyCCAT is a non-profit trust fund that strategically invests in ocean stakeholders to generate new learning, bold action, and sustainable blue prosperity in Seychelles. The trust is available for Seychellois to undertake projects that contribute to the conservation or management of marine biodiversity and ecosystem-based adaptation to climate change.
Achievements in 5 years
1. Successfully achieved 30% marine protection of Seychelles’ waters.
2. The Blue Grants Fund increased 3.5 times in 5 years. In 2015, SeyCCAT only had US $200,000 available in the Blue Grants Fund and by 2018, the fund grew to US $700,000 in available funds.
3. Initial uptake of the funds was slow. The first call for proposals received only 15 applications. In 2020, the fourth call for proposal received 75 applications with a total requested amount of R53 million.
4. Between 2017 and 2020,SeyCCAT disbursed more than R15 million supporting 34 projects.
5. SeyCCAT also emphasises investing in women and youth in the Blue Economy with:
(i) 58% of SeyCCAT’s portfolio of projects are women-led; (ii) R8 million disbursed to youth-led or to projects where youth are the main beneficiaries and (iii) 23 projects are supporting small-scale fishers.
6. A Seychellois business is now a donor to the Blue Grants Fund with a R150,000 grant and mentorship for a Seychellois entrepreneur in the Blue economy.
7. SeyCCAT continues to support Seychelles’ ambition on climate action and ocean conservation. It is supporting the government of Seychelles with integrating the value of blue carbon habitats, in particular seagrass, in the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) of Seychelles.
Know more about SeyCCAT?
SeyCCAT manages almost US $10 million that it seeks to invest in projects supporting Seychelles’ marine environment, its people and the Blue economy in the next 20 years. SeyCCAT is well-known for its Blue Grants Fund – a dedicated pot of capital that offers grants to local businesses, non-profits and government agencies. The Blue Grants Fund is predominantly formed by two sources: US $21.6 million debt-for-nature swap and $700,000 from Seychelles’ Sovereign Blue Bond. The first of its kind for ocean conservation, the debt-for-nature swap saw US $21.6 million of Seychelles’ external debt re-structured on more favourable terms (i.e. lower interest rates, longer repayment period) on a condition that Seychelles protects 30% of its waters, effectively swapping some of the national debt for the protection of marine resources (hence the name). The world’s first sovereign blue bond helped raise US $3 million. SeyCCAT manages $700,000 of those funds as a source of capital for Seychellois-driven initiatives, which receive this capital in a form of grants. But SeyCCAT does more than manage finances.
SeyCCAT’s objectives are to support new and existing marine and coastal protected areas and sustainable use zones; Empower the fisheries sector with science and know-how to improve governance, sustainability, and market options; Promote the rehabilitation of marine and coastal ecosystems that have been degraded by local and global impacts; Develop and implement risk reduction and social resilience plans to adapt to climate change; Trial and nurture business models to secure the sustainable development of Seychelles’ Blue economy.
SeyCCAT supports Seychelles by: mapping out seagrass meadows across the country’s ocean to quantify how much carbon is absorbed and stored by marine habitats.
The commemoration activities will last for a week and can be consulted on SeyCCAT’s website.
The accompanying photos show some highlights of the exhibition and talk.
Photos: Thomas Meriton