Coast to coast

"Beautiful sanctuary, quite close to natural, so it merits its name." This was Christopher Feka's reaction on his visit to Nature Seychelles' Sanctuary at Roche Caiman in Mahe. Christopher who is from Cameroon, is one of the forty representatives of the COAST (Collaborative Actions for Sustainable Tourism) project, who recently paid a visit to the sanctuary as part of their island tour.

Members of the COAST project were in Seychelles for their sixth and final steering committee meeting whose main agenda was to discuss the results and lessons learnt in the five years of the project's operation. The COAST project is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), implemented by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and operating in nine East and West African countries - Cameroon, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, Seychelles and Tanzania.

"It was a wonderful feeling getting to discover and come into contact with many people, their beaches, the diversity, and the beauty they present." said Mr Feka on describing his experience in being part of the COAST project, albeit only for two years.

The main goal of the COAST project is to "support and enhance the conservation of globally significant coastal and marine ecosystems and associated biodiversity in Sub-Saharan Africa, through the reduction of the negative environmental impacts which they receive as a result of coastal tourism" (

The work of the COAST project focuses on three main areas, Reef & Marine Recreation Management, Environmental Management Systems and Eco Tourism. Demonstration sites of interventions have been set up in eight of the partner countries in line with these three thematic areas of work.

Interestingly, Seychelles is the only of the nine partner countries that does not have a demo. site, owing to its being awarded the Seychelles Sustainable Tourism Label (SSTL) status. In fact, the activities of Seychelles in the project chiefly involve sharing information on what has worked and key learning areas.

The COAST project is not involved with the Sanctuary at Roche Caiman nor has it funded it. The visit was organized by Nature Seychelles as part of its outreach program. The work of the COAST project which is executed by United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in partnership with United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), is now coming to an end after five and a half years of operation with tangible outcomes.

"The most rewarding aspect of the COAST project has been the ability of partnerships formed as part of the project, actually delivering results on the ground." said Hugh Gibbon, the Technical coordinator of the UNIDO COAST project office in Nairobi, Kenya. "Of particular significance have been the public-private-community partnerships which are now operational in a number of countries including Kenya, Ghana, Gambia and Senegal." Mr Gibbon explained.

After an intensive three days of discussions and presentations on lessons learnt, results achieved and recommendations, the group which was comprised of approximately three people from each partner country, was then taken on a one-day tour of Mahe Island which included a visit to the Nature Seychelles sanctuary.

"The memory of the entire trip to beautiful Seychelles will be treasured forever." said Ms. Anthonia Johnson, COAST's tourism focal point in Nigeria.

Photos: 1) COAST members listening to a brief history of Nature Seychelles and The Sanctuary 2) Listening to how the nature reserve was created 3) Getting a feel of the structure of the bird hide made from recycled plastic bottles 4) One of many questions during the tour




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Seychelles Nature, Green HealthClimate Change, Biodiversity Conservation & Sustainability Organisation

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Roche Caiman, Mahe

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