GIS- 14 July 2017 : A two-day inception workshop on the project ‘Mainstreaming Biodiversity into the Management of the Coastal Zone in the Republic of Mauritius’ opened yesterday at Ravenala Attitude Hotel in Balaclava at the initiative of the Ministry of Ocean Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping, the Global Environment Facility and the United Nations Development Programme.
During the workshop, some 75 participants will take cognizance of the goals, objectives and beneficial outcomes of the project for the Republic of Mauritius. The purpose of the workshop is to have working sessions with all relevant stakeholders, to review and fine tune the project outcomes, activities and performance indicators. The inception workshop aims to build ownership within all partners involved in the implementation of the project results and to plan the first-year annual work plan and its budget.
Present at the opening ceremony, the Minister of Ocean Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping, Mr Premdut Koonjoo, highlighted that the project will facilitate the mainstreaming of various aspects of protection of biodiversity in the activities being carried out by different stakeholders in the coastal zone, both in Mauritius and in Rodrigues.
He recalled that the coastal zone and inshore waters in Mauritius are of vital importance for socio-economic development by providing income through tourism and fisheries and as the focus of many leisure and recreational activities. These activities, he added, exert intense pressure on the habitat and environment of different species in these regions and in the long run may lead to the extinction of the species which are vital for the safeguard of the Coastal Zone.
Hence, pointed out Mr Koonjoo, the outcomes of the project will benefit Mauritius and Rodrigues through protection of biodiversity while the twin issues of climate change impacts and negative externalities of coastal development could be effectively addressed by having the necessary legal and regulatory framework, policies and institutions.
Speaking about the need to build climate-resilient ocean economies, Minister Koonjoo underlined that several initiatives have been taken to protect and conserve the ocean ecosystem in line with Aichi Biodiversity targets.
They include: restoration of the coral reef through coral farming; regular monitoring of the lagoons; setting up of marine protected areas; enforcement of measures to eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing; promotion of sustainable development of marine resources; and implementation of international conservation and management practices.
For his part, the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Mr Simon Springett, stated that the project which will be implemented both in Mauritius and Rodrigues at a very critical time will assist the Republic of Mauritius to take into consideration environmental and ecological factors while planning the development of the coastal and marine environment in a sustainable manner.
He added that the UNDP will also support the national initiative of conserving biodiversity. This year, a project preparation grant of $130,000 has been approved by the GEF for the formulation of a project document on Mainstreaming Invasive Alien Species Prevention, Control and Management. Successful endorsement of the project document will see Mauritius granted $3.8m by the GEF for implementation of activities in view of Invasive Alien Species control and prevention, he said.
The main objective of the project ‘Mainstreaming Biodiversity into the Management of the Coastal Zone in the Republic of Mauritius’ is to mainstream the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and ecosystem services into coastal zone management and into the operations and policies of the tourism and physical development sectors in Mauritius through a ‘land and seascape wide’ integrated management approach based on the Environmental Sensitive Areas (ESAs) inventory and assessment. It will be implemented with the collaboration of stakeholders from all relevant sectors which include various ministries, NGO’s and the civil society.
The project value is a grant from GEF amounting to USD 4,664,521. The duration of this project is five years and will be implemented both in Mauritius and Rodrigues.
The project outcomes are as follows:
- Addressing threats to biodiversity and ecosystem function by ensuring that 27,000 ha marine and coastal Environmentally Sensitive Areas (ESAs) are an integral part of planning and implementation mechanisms relating to coastal development and the tourism sector;
- Mitigation of threats to marine and coastal biodiversity and protection of fishery resources in at least 20,000 ha of seascapes through the improved management of Marine Protected Areas and no-take zones; and
- Erosion control and ecosystem services restoration: reduction of erosion and soil loss in 200 ha of erosion-prone water sheds; and restoration of ecosystem services in 100 ha of coastal wetlands.
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