Mon, 23rd October 2017 | Updated Thursday 27 July 2017, 09:18:58    

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

DATE: January 16th, 2017

Seychelles to commemorate National Protected Areas Day on 31st January

Victoria, Seychelles – On January 31, the GOS-UNDP-GEF Protected Areas Project and Outer Islands Project in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change, the Environmental Education Unit of the Department of Education and the Seychelles National Parks Authority, will be hosting a series of activities to commemorate international Protected Areas Day.

The chosen theme for this year's celebration is "Healthy Ecosystems through Protected Areas", which highlights the importance of Protected Areas as a key tool in conserving our biodiversity and ecosystem services, especially against the backdrop of climate change and depleting natural resources.

Concerned stakeholders, including environmental Non-Governmental Organisation (NGOs), have been invited to celebrate this day and to join the organisers in the planned activities.

Highlights will include a public demonstration march by School students and environment agencies in Seychelles. This activity has been organised in partnership with the Environmental Unit of the Department of Education, and will involve the participation of private and public schools within the central region of Mahe. The aim of this activity is to raise public-awareness through the voices of our young citizens, to promote the importance of our Protected Areas, their benefits and why Seychelles needs Protected Areas.

The demonstration march will start from the Botanical Garden, head down Francis Rachel Street to the clock-tower, turn to Independence Avenue and then up 5th June Avenue to the National Library, where it will terminate at the National Arts Gallery. The march will be from 1.30 pm to 2.30 pm, and will be led by the Minister for Environment, Energy and Climate Change, Mr Didier Dogley, along with the Principal Secretary for Environment, Mr Alain Decomarmond.

The march will be followed by a small ceremony at the National Arts Council at 2.30 pm. On the agenda is the launch of country's first Protected Areas Financial Plan, launch of the Wildlife Clubs Magazine on the Outer Islands, and endorsement of the Seychelles National Parks Authority Strategic Plan by Minister Dogley. The ceremony will culminate with the official opening of the Protected Areas Exhibition, which will be on show at the National Arts Gallery for two days - January 31st and February 1st, 2017.

The exhibition will showcase activities being undertaken by GOS-UNDP-GEF projects working with protected areas, and include exhibits from NGOs and involved governmental organizations, such Seychelles Island Foundation, Marine Conservation Society of Seychelles, Green Island Foundation, Plant Conservation Acgtion Group and Seychelles National Parks Authority.

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Editor's Note:

About the GOS-UNDP-GEF Outer Islands Project

Basic Information

Project Duration: 5 years from 2014 to 2018

Project Financing: US$ 1.7 million

Funding Agency: Global Environment Facility (GEF)

Implementing Entity: Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change, GOS-UNDP-GEF Programme Coordination Unit

Project Implementation Partner: Island Conservation Society

Project Manager: Mrs Joanna Prosper

Background:

Seychelles' existing protected area system is primarily situated in the Inner (Granitic) Islands of the country. The Outer Islands of the Seychelles make up more than half of the total number of islands within the archipelago and include nine of the twenty Important Bird Areas (IBAs) of Seychelles, but at present there are only two fully gazetted protected areas in the Outer Islands: (i) Aldabra Special Reserve (15,260 ha terrestrial and 23,100 ha marine) and (ii) the African Banks Protected Area (2 ha terrestrial and 3 ha marine), as well as two declared Nature Reserves (Boudeuse and Etoile, each less than 1 ha.).

Expected Outcomes:

The aim of the OI project is to promote the conservation and sustainable use of terrestrial and marine biodiversity in the Seychelles' Outer Islands by expanding the protected areas system and strengthening protected area management, supported by broad-scale ecosystem planning and sustainable land management activities to conserve ecosystem functions. It consists of the following components:

• Establishment of new protected Areas

• Development of an institutional framework supporting the integrated management of the new Protected Areas.

About the GOS-UNDP-GEF Protected Areas Finance Project

Basic Information:

Project Duration: 5 years from 2016 to 2020

Project Financing: US$ 2.7 million

Funding Agency: Global Environment Facility (GEF)

Implementing Entity: Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change, GOS-UNDP-GEF Programme Coordination Unit

Project Manager: Mr. Daig Romain

Technical Advisor: Mr. Andrew Rylance

Background:

This new project has been developed to strengthen the Seychelles Protected Area (PA) system, especially as the country is in the process of exploring the potential for expansion of the protected areas system through the Marine Spatial Planning exercise, in line with the 2013 PA Policy. The project intends to develop the first whole system and financial/investment plans for Seychelles' protected areas, treating the system holistically, and bringing together the various Government agencies and NGOs currently involved in managing separate areas. It looks in particular at the costs of managing the system, much of which is under-performing in terms of capturing revenue, and addressing financing gaps through development of new and innovative financing mechanisms

Project Outcomes:

The project aims to develop a framework whereby the PA system can be sustainably financed. The project has two main components:

1) Enabling planning and legal framework for an improved use of existing and new PA finance - It will support the Government, Seychelles National Parks Authority and other entities managing PAs in evaluating the financial performance of the PAs, determining financial gaps and identifying opportunities for improving the overall functionality of both the current and the proposed expanded PA estate. It will also develop a national PAs investment Plan and site-level PA Financing Plans where needed. Additionally, it will strengthen the financial management capacities of the national PA managing entities in order to reduce cost-inefficiencies, improve revenues and develop mechanisms for revenue sharing.

2) Increasing and securing revenue generation for PA management – It will improve the financial sustainability of the PA system and selected individual PAs to ensure that they have adequate financial resources to cover the full costs of their management at optimal level. To achieve this, it will support the building and renovating of small infrastructures, and introduce new cost-effective practices, systems and schemes, all aimed at making sites more attractive to visitors and increasing the revenue generation capacity of the individual sites.


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