Innovative new project aims for a more democratic approach to conservation of the environment

On Thursday, May 23, 2024, H.E. Mr. Oskar Benedikt, the European Union Ambassador to Seychelles, presided at the launch of Nature Seychelles' new EU-funded wetlands project at our headquarters in Roche Caiman, Mahe.

EU Project launch

(L-R) Dr Nirmal Shah, Nature seychelles, the European Union Ambassador to Seychelles H.E. Mr Oskar Benedikt, the Ambassador of France to Seychelles H.E. Mme. Olivia Berkeley-Christmann & Principal Secretary for Climate Change and Energy, Tony Imaduwa

He was accompanied by the Ambassador of France to Seychelles, H.E. Mme. Olivia Berkeley-Christmann, the Principal Secretary for Climate Change and Energy, Tony Imaduwa, and a delegation from the EU Mauritius, who will coordinate the project.

The project, "Improving Climate Adaptation and Environmental Governance through Local People and Co-Management in Seychelles," will be carried out by Nature Seychelles in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Climate Change, and Environment. The EU has provided €218,000 in funding support for the project, which commenced in March 2024 and will conclude in March 2026.

The project focus is on climate action, good governance, gender equality, and the empowerment of women and youth. It aims to enhance cooperation between government agencies, the private sector, and NGOs for collaborative wetlands management in Seychelles. Additionally, it will foster opportunities for partnerships among various stakeholders.

Key initiatives include improving mangrove research and management, increasing local participation in conservation and restoration efforts, and strengthening national mangrove policy and regulatory frameworks.

During the project introduction, Dr Nirmal Shah, CEO of Nature Seychelles, emphasized the urgent need to focus on wetlands, which have garnered significant public attention in recent months. He highlighted the project’s intent to publicly recognize those who invest time, expertise, and resources into wetland conservation. A set of criteria will be developed for this purpose. This recognition, he noted, will inspire others to protect their wetlands to gain similar acknowledgement.

EU Project launch presentation

The launch takes place on the heels of the International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB), which is on May 22 2024, whose theme this year is "Be part of the Plan”.

Shah said that the 2024 theme is a call to action for all stakeholders to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by supporting the implementation of the Global Biodiversity Framework, also known as the Biodiversity Plan.

"The upcoming project is exactly that. Nature Seychelles thanks the EU and the Ministry for recognising that management of the environment is everybody's business, and in fact, everybody's right," he said. "The project responds to the clamour for environmental equity, climate justice and "the right of every person to live in and enjoy a clean, healthy and ecologically balanced environment," as enshrined in the Seychelles Charter of fundamental human rights and freedoms.

H.E. Mr Oskar Benedikt said, “The launch of this important project happens while we celebrate the EU month in Seychelles. It is the moment when we take stock of and appreciate the long-standing partnership between the EU and Seychelles, a partnership lasting already half a century. The launch of this grant today together with our new bilateral programme covering the period 2021-2027, which I signed with the Foreign Minister earlier, bear testimony to the continuity of this partnership in key areas such as environmental protection.”

EU Project launch mangroves

To mark the occasion the ambassadors, Dr. Shah, and PS Imaduwa planted mangrove seedlings earmarked for a nursery being stocked under the project.

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