Minister of Environment, Climate Change and Energy
Global Environment Facility National Portfolio Formulation Exercise Speech
Date: 21st February 2019
Venue: Savoy Resort and Spa
Ladies and gentlemen
A very good morning to you all and welcome you all to this important National
Dialogue Initiative for GEF-7 STAR Allocation.
First let me express my gratitude to GEF for allocating Seychelles USD 6.59 million for the next 4 years to address project priorities in the focal areas of Biodiversity, Land Degradation and Climate Change Mitigation. As we look to implementing
GEF-7, I am confident that the GEF will continue to have an impressive impact in Seychelles.
Nowhere is the inextricable connection between people’s well-being, economic prosperity and the environment clearer than on small islands. Since its inception, the GEF has been a strong partner and supporter of environmental programmes that promote sustainable development in Small Island Developing States (SIDS), such as the Republic of Seychelles.
Land in Seychelles is a scarce resource, land-use pressure is intense, and Government has to juggle the needs of a growing population for land and housing, and the demands for ever more tourism development, with its commitment to the environment and biodiversity conservation. Seychelles, like other countries also face challenges from climate change and unsustainable use of natural resources
With the support of GEF funding, the Seychelles Government and civil society are able to tackle these issues head-on. Over the years, a series of projects under different thematic areas has provided essential support to the development planning process, establishing a legal framework for environmental and land-use planning; addressing prioritization of land management issues and expansion of the Protected Area system, and marine spatial planning; exploring innovative Protected Area management scenarios and financing mechanisms; and mainstreaming biodiversity into the tourism and fisheries sectors that together employs half the population.
This support has motivated the country to commit to protecting 50 percent of its land area and 30 percent of its ocean territory, using funding leveraged through innovative mechanisms such as the landmark Debt-for-Adaptation swap that was signed in 2015, with private sector support.
I also wish to highlight, the importance of several strategic documents of critical importance to the three Rio conventions ,particularly the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, the Seychelles Climate Change Strategy, Nationally Deter `1mined Contributions, the Sustainable Land Management Strategy and the Seychelles Sustainable Development Strategy to name a few. We have also elaborated some key policy documents including the Protected Area Policy and the Energy Policy.
As we all know, Non-Governmental Organisations play an integral part in the conservation, protection and management of the environment. This is well understood and strongly supported by the Seychelles Government. Under GEF-7 the government will ensure that the STAR allocation for SGP and other CSOs are well respected. More recently NGOs have called for a greater share of participation within the STAR allocation. Government of Seychelles has always supported the participation of NGOs and will continue to do so under this GEF-7 STAR allocation.
So I call upon all Stakeholders present here today in this National Dialogue, to come up with project ideas that are aligned to our country’s priorities, strategies and plans highlighted above which are aimed to deliver tangible and quantifiable local and global environmental benefits with linkages across the GEF focal areas.
Today, we have more concrete data and information about the various threats we face and also clear policies and strategies on the way forward. There is no doubt that we are very much in a stronger position as a country than we were 12 years ago before we embarked on the GEF-4 programme.
Importantly, the outcomes of this dialogue will also provide valuable insights and lessons learned that can be shared for replication between countries in the Indian Ocean, and with similar initiatives covering other small island developing states for replication and scaling up.
Seychelles is proud over the years to partner with the GEF, its implementing agency and other key stakeholders in delivering various important environmental benefits to the population, by connecting people and supporting them in conserving their environment for sustainable and enhanced livelihoods and resilience.
In closing, I wish to thank all the participants who have made a special effort to be here today in this multi-stakeholder meeting. I hope this dialogue will provide an avenue for all of us to bring out our expertise, ideas and build recommendations which will undoubtedly benefit Seychelles. The success of this dialogue is dependent on you – our valued stakeholders. Last but not least I would like to take this opportunity to thank the UN Environment Representative to be here with us to share his insight on E-mobility and also the organizing team of this workshop.
Wish you all a fruitful deliberation.
I thank you.