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Seychelles-Our efforts to mitigate (and adapt to) climate change

by | 01-11-2015 07:51 recommendations 0

In all honesty, when it comes to global issues especially climate change, small islands like Seychelles are not only the most vulnerable but also the least likely to influence change if it stands alone. Two of the typical characteristics of SIDS are its small population and land area which can be more of a curse than an asset when we want to be taken seriously  vis-à-vis climate change. Let's face it, Seychelles is not as well known in the world as the USA, China, the countries of the EU and other big names. It is a reality that many of us who care for the world's well-being beyond economic prosperity are trying to overcome- to give an equal voice to everyone. Despite our very small size (but a dot on the map) we have done our part in climate change mitigation.

Seychelles has committed itself to the absolute economy-wide emissions reduction covering public electricity, land transport and solid waste management, to be achieved by 2030. As I stated in my ambassador's report 'Air pollution in Seychelles - the ambition of a nation', much of the policies implemented by the government to reduce GHG emissions to meet its Intended nationally determined contribution (INDC) also reduces air pollution. Killing two birds with one stone. One example is the removal of duty on electric cars (announced in the beginning of the year), which has made it a competitive choice next to standard cars that uses fuel. This policy along with others that are linked to policies to reduce air pollution are included in a greater agenda for climate change mitigation.

In its fight to mitigate climate change Seychelles has set up the Seychelles  National  Climate  Change  Strategy (2009), which will act as a strategic tool  for the sustainability of its  development and economic reforms. The  Strategy  has  five priority objectives to:    
Advance understanding  of  climate  change,  its  impacts  and  appropriate  responses
Put in place measures  to  adapt,  build  resilience  and  minimise  the  country's  vulnerability     
Achieve  sustainable  energy  security  and  to  reduce  greenhouse  gas  emissions     Mainstream  climate  change  considerations  into  national  policies,  strategies  and  plans  and  
Build capacity and social empowerment at all levels.  

In the context of Seychelles, adaptation works hand in hand with mitigation. If the issue of climate change is not addressed, we will need to prepare ourselves to adapt. But with many of our infrastructures located near the coast especially hotels and houses, this may prove difficult to accomplish. The  Seychelles Sustainable Development Strategy (2012-2020),  Chapter  12, provides strategic goals and objectives to guide adaptation  until  2020. These plans called for the inclusion of climate change adaptation into all sectoral plans, which also includes tourism,  health,  finance,  agriculture,  biodiversity,  fisheries,  disaster  management,  and  land-use planning. 

A new initiative was launched by the President of the Republic of Seychelles, Mr James Michel, called the Blue economy. This is Seychelles' response to climate change through sustainable development. Since oceans consists of 99% of the seychelles territory, it is  an asset than cannot be put aside, especially in the midst of climate change. The blue economy focuses on developing our oceans and its marine life sustainably.  Incentives have been given to recruite people into this new field such as making it a field of priority employment, and encouraging young people to take up a career related to the blue economy through government scholarships. In addition, the University of Seychelles has recently formed the blue economy research institute in March 2015. One of its functions will be to "identify and coordinate research synergies between different sectors and actively seek partners to support and advance sustainable development initiatives". This combination of research and education will give greater insight into managing our oceans in a sustainable way so as to help tackle climate change.

It is important to remember that although SIDS are too small to have a real impact on climate change mitigation, it is important for us to live up to what we preach. Climate change mitigation cannot be the responsibility  of only bigger countries. Everyone has to pitch in for the result to be long lasting and meaningful. 

Our Blue Economy

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  • says :
    Yeap, double agreed Lisa. Whenever I read your article, I get much more interested in Climate change and SIDs issue. I am impressed in your insight to see the problem clearly and to make the right action in immediate response. I hope your voice to be heard as many people as it reaches.
    Posted 02-11-2015 13:53

  • Sujan Adhikari says :
    Well Reported Lisa, Every country is equally responsible to reduce climate change effects but SIDS are more vulnerable to its effects and other countries most act.
    Posted 01-11-2015 21:48

  • Rohan Kapur says :
    Well reported Lisa. The efforts put up by Seychelles are worth a praise. Blue economy is a cool concept.
    Posted 01-11-2015 20:10

  • Luiz Bispo says :
    Wow, blue economy is a nice concept. Thanks for sharing that! =)
    Posted 01-11-2015 09:10

  • Arushi Madan says :
    Thanks for a very meaningful and crisp-clear report. It's really worth appreciating that Seychelles is working on various fronts to not only mitigate climate change but also adapt to it. Blue economy initiative is good.
    Posted 01-11-2015 08:51

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