EU-Seychelles partnership in climate change
The Ambassador of the European Union to the Republic of Seychelles undertook a site visit to La Digue in the context of the coastal flood adaptation and mitigation activities of the "Seychelles Global Climate Change Alliance project". She met with local stakeholders on La Digue.
According to Marjaana SALL, Ambassador of the European Union to the Republic of Seychelles:
"Through this project, the European Union reiterates its commitment to support Government in the implementation of its National Climate Change Strategy, in line with commitments taken in COP 21 Conference. The EU is particularly pleased to assist local communities improve their resilience to the climate change and hence their livelihood. By addressing the recurrent flood problems on La Digue this project is expected to impact directly on the health of the local population by reducing the incidence of water borne diseases. Secondly bearing in mind the negative impact of floods on local economic activities namely agriculture and tourism, the project is expected to sustain the economic livelihood of the local population. I am confident that this project will leave a footprint in the white sands of La Digue, that will constantly remind us of the close bonds uniting Seychelles with the European Union."
According to Mr. Didier Dogley, the Minister of Environment Energy and Climate Change of the Republic of Seychelles:
"Climate change pose an existential threat to small islands communities like the one on La Digue. During the last 3 years the people of la Digue have suffered from extreme weather events, which have caused widespread flooding, disruption to livelihoods and posed a major health risk. At the same time the ground water aquifer which is the main source of potable water for the Diguois was also being threatened by the intrusion of salt water as coastal erosion continued unabated inland. Through targeted investments from the Government of Seychelles and financial support from the EU in the form of GCCA and GCCA+ we will be able to reduce the vulnerability of the local community and strengthen their resilience against the greatest threat of our time, climate change."
The objective of the site visit is to meet with stakeholders on La Digue and discuss the project and its implementation. For the EU Ambassador, it is essential to ensure the participation and involvement of local communities for the success of this project….and it is this type of engagement that creates a compelling hope for a sustainable future. Local communities should be involved as much as possible to ensure that its results meet their expectations.
The programme "Seychelles Global Climate Change Alliance project" was established by the European Union in 2007 with a total envelope of 285 m EUR for the period 2008 to 2013. The objective is to support developing countries and small islands developing states in their endeavours to adapt to climate change. To-date the programme has supported more than 70 programmes in over 50 countries in Africa, Asia, Pacific and Caribbean and the Indian Ocean. In light of its success, the European Union has allocated an additional envelope of 350 m EUR for the programme for the period 2014-2020. In addition, another 70 m EUR are also available for climate actions from the European Union regional funds until 2020.
The programme for Seychelles was signed between the European Union and the Government of Seychelles in December 2014 to assist Government in developing its resistance to these changing climate patterns. The programme of 3 million euros is part of the European Union Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA+) which aims at strengthening dialogue and cooperation with developing countries, in particular least developed countries (LDCs) and small island developing States (SIDS). The GCCA + is one of the most significant climate initiatives in the world.
A major component of the project concerns the implementation of coastal climate change adaptation in risk-prone areas on La Digue. These activities will be implemented by the UNDP (United National Development Programme), given their experience and expertise in the domain in Mahé and in La Digue. The project is expected to run until 2019.
Activities that will be implemented include the preparation of an Integrated Shoreline Management Plan, hydrological and topographic studies on flood buffering and salinization control measures. The activities will also focus on the restoration of wetlands, as a sustainable means to reduce flood risks.
The 2013 floods which hit La Digue and the damage caused by cyclone Fantala on Farquhar Island last year show to what extent Small Island Developing States like the Seychelles are vulnerable to changing climatic conditions. The security and livelihoods of local population are now increasingly threatened by sea rises, tsunamis, increases in temperature, flash floods, cyclones and droughts – all the consequences of climate change.
Distributed by APO on behalf of European External Action Service (EEAS).