GIS – 21 October 2013: An Inception Workshop on Coastal Engineering organised at the initiative of the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, with the collaboration of the University of Mauritius, opened this morning at the Intercontinental Hotel, Balaclava. The objective is to reinforce capacity building in the fight against one of the major impacts of climate change in the context of the project - Climate Change Adaptation Programme in the Coastal Zone of Mauritius.
The workshop will provide a platform for discussion of innovative technologies and case studies on coastal adaptation measures implemented worldwide. Besides helping participants and institutions to enhance the coping abilities, the workshop will also enable them to withstand and adapt to climate change and achieve development outcomes.
In his speech at the opening ceremony, the Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, Mr. Devanand Virahsawmy, underlined that the Government has adopted a proactive approach with regard to building resilience to climate change. In this context, a Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Plan has been developed, under the Africa Adaptation Programme and the first National Climate Change Adaptation Policy Framework for Mauritius has been published.
This Framework focuses on the assessment of socio-economic impacts of climate change on the key areas of the economy, namely water, agriculture including terrestrial ecosystem, fisheries and marine ecosystem, tourism and coastal management as well as other cross-cutting sectors like health, education and infrastructure.
The Minister pointed out that a Climate Change information centre has been set up within the Climate Change Division of the Ministry. This centre acts as a “Data Repository” for climate change information and helps in disseminating information and reports on climate change for informed decision making.
To-day, he said, we are taking a very important step forward on the journey, migrating from a vulnerable island State to a resilient island State through the enhancement of the technical capability of Mauritius to face climate change realities.
In affirming our commitment to the environmental, economic and social development, Government is responding firmly to the findings of the Fourth IPCC Assessment Report by implementing the project Climate Change Adaptation Programme in the Coastal Zone of Mauritius to the tune of USD 9.1 million, Mr. Virahswamy said.
The objective of this programme will be to increase climate resilience of communities and livelihoods in coastal areas through the implementation of the following components: application of adaptation measures to protect currently vulnerable coastal ecosystem and community features at three priority sites, namely Mon Choisy, Quatre Soeurs and Rivière des Galets; development and implementation of an early warning system for incoming surge; training, policy mainstreaming; and knowledge dissemination and management.
The focus will be on the development and application of approaches and tools for resolving specific vulnerability issues in our coastal zone. The overall approach is to work from the level of technical solutions to the policy and regulatory level, so that future replication of coastal adaptation measures will be catalyzed and supported by new policies and guidelines, the Minister said.