Seychelles and the debt-for-nature swap

Following a recent webinar, Minister Joubert explained the benefit of the Seychelles Conservation and Climate Adaptation Trust (Seycaat) abilities in funding sustainable projects

The International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) an independent research organization and E3G, a European Climate Change not-for-profit company, which goals is to translate climate politics into action, co-hosted a webinar Wednesday 7th July.  The webinar comprised the participation of the Minister for Agriculture, Climate Change and Environment, Mr. Flavien P Joubert and other representatives from both organizations. The main topic of discussion was to oversee the burden of debt on low-and middle-income countries which has worsened due to the Covid-19 pandemic, as a result has compelled many Governments to divert their investment in getting the pandemic under control. The debate team explored what is needed to finance a safer, more resilient and cleaner environment (that is, a green recovery) as well as the primary role of the debt relief and special drawing rights (SDRs), which is an international reserve asset for climate and nature action. 

Minister Joubert shared the Seychelles’ experience on the debt-for-climate swap so far and the fact that the obligations of the deals are being met with the repayment of the impact loan, the disbursement of funds through a grants facility of the Seychelles’ Conservation and Climate Adaptation Trust’s (SeyCCAT), Blue Grants Fund and a long-term investment through an Endowment Fund. The ground results are more clearly seen through the disbursement of grants to support non-governmental organisations that would otherwise, have been dependent on external funding, supporting research and the uptake of sustainable aquaculture and supporting micro-small-medium enterprises to diversify their businesses with the Blue Economy.

“The whole scheme has worked for Seychelles and its delivery on some of the results, crucially it is providing a lot of space for people and groups who would like to get involved in conservation and climate adaptation activities to actually get on with the different activities, which moves faster than it would have if we were just depending on external finance.” Said Minister. Joubert

In view of the Seychelles’ experience, the Minister urged donor countries in the Group of 20 (G20) to explore the opportunities offered by SDRs as this would offer Small Island Developing States a lifeline, especially as countries suffer the fate of COVID-19 impacts.

“This is only part of the debt and now with the Covid pandemic there is a sharp downturn in the tourism sector. The debt to GDP ratio has gone up sharply, we are faced once again with dealing with the future when it comes to climate and biodiversity loss, and coming out of covid at the same time. I will urge our partners on the outside especially the Group of 20 (G20), to take a look at these options. Seychelles as a high-income developing country, you have limited access to finance. This will be a good opportunity to have other options on the table, which is a good decision. I think it’s something which we will continue to explore and develop overtime and hopefully in the near future I would be able to offer that to some of the countries in the same situations like Seychelles” said Minister Joubert

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