Seychelles is an archipelago comprising 115 islands in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Being the home of a vast ecosystem of endemic fauna and flora, Seychelles managed to establish fisheries and tourism as the two pillars of its economy. Today, the country has transformed into a high income nation and persistently remains highest in Africa on global human development indicators.
Regardless of the country’s successes, as a Small Island Developing State, Seychelles’ biggest threat are those posed by climate change. Rising sea levels and coral bleaching are ever more immediate menaces to the country’s entire existence. However, the country has made climate change adaptation one of its top priorities and has introduced several sustainable strategies to tackle the country’s biggest challenge yet.
In January 2018, the Government of Seychelles approved the Seychelles Blue Economy Strategic Framework and Roadmap. Having identified that the country’s prosperity lies to a great extent in its marine and coastal activities, the Blue Economy Roadmap aims for an integrated approach to ocean-based sustainable development. It brings together economy, conservation and society in line with the SDG 2030, Aichi Target 11 of the CBD and the Paris Agreement to create sustainable wealth.
Such a multi-inclusive project, however, brings many challenges. Having a large EEZ of 1.37 million km2, Seychelles is highly vulnerable to security risks such as piracy, illegal activities including IUU fishing and human trafficking, as well as broader environmental risks like marine pollution. These are security risks that require a combination of global, regional and national responses. Despite these challenges, the Seychelles Blue Economy brand continues to grow and has established successful flagship initiatives. Two Blue Economy success stories are Seychelles Marine Spatial Plan and the Seychelles Conservation and Climate Adaptation Trust (SeyCATT).
The Seychelles Marine Spatial Plan (MSP) Initiative is a process focused on planning for and management of the sustainable and long-term use and health of the Seychelles Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The MSP Initiative is a Government-led process, with planning and facilitation managed by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and TNC Canada in partnership with Government of Seychelles—UNDP GEF Programme Coordinating Unit (PCU). Funding for the Initiative is being provided through a number of grants to Government of Seychelles and an Oceans 5 grant awarded to TNC. The initiative is an integrated, multi-sector approach to address climate change adaptation, marine protection and support the Blue Economy and other national strategies. The process includes input from all major sectors of Seychelles, including commercial fishing, tourism and marine charters, biodiversity conservation, renewable energy, port authority, maritime safety and non-renewable resources in order to develop a comprehensive marine plan with stakeholder input. More information can be found here.
The Seychelles Conservation & Climate Adaptation Trust (SeyCCAT) was legally registered under the Conservation and Climate Adaptation Trust of Seychelles Act in November, 2015. SeyCCAT was purposely created to manage capital from the debt conversion for marine conservation and climate adaptation initiative that was established by the Seychelles Government in partnership with Naturevest, the conservation impact invest unit of The Nature Conservancy (TNC). SeyCCAT’s mission is to strategically invests in ocean stakeholders to generate new learning, bold action and sustainable blue prosperity in Seychelles. More information can be found here.