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World Bank to help Seychelles counter coastal erosion

Victoria, Seychelles | February 5, 2020, Wednesday @ 12:25 in National » GENERAL | By: Daniel Laurence Edited by: Betymie Bonnelame | Views: 3087
World Bank to help Seychelles counter coastal erosion

Work being done to prevent coastal erosion in Anse Boileau where a seawall has been built. (Salifa Karapetyan, Seychelles News Agency)

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(Seychelles News Agency) - The World Bank will help Seychelles with the provision of experts and financial support to help the island nation deal with coastal erosion as a result of climate change, a top official said on Tuesday.

The Country Director for Seychelles at the World Bank, Mark Lundell, told reporters that the World Bank will mobilise experts in the next month or two to evaluate the extent of the situation in Seychelles.

"We need to look for a development partner in financing because there is an existing coastal zone erosion investment plan for the country that was finalised in 2019," he said.  

Lundell said that as much financing is needed to initiate that plan as quickly as possible and gain momentum so that other development partners become aware of the impact of climate change on Small Island Developing States (SIDs) and can support with implementing the full plan.

The World Bank official met with President Danny Faure at State House on Tuesday to discuss the issue.

Lundell met with President Faure at State House on Tuesday. (Thomas Meriton) Photo License: CC-BY

According to State House, Faure highlighted the damage that has been caused by the extreme high tides last year which is continuing up to now.

Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean, experienced a high tide of 1.9 metres last year.

Faure stressed that the country would like technical expertise in the coastal environment sector to help the country determine the strategies and projects needed to soften the impact on the worst-hit areas.

"Once these are identified, Government would be in a better position to source financing and ensure implementation," said Faure.

Lundell briefed the President on the meetings he had with officials during his visit. He commended the Seychelles government for setting up the Blue Economy Council and the work of the Blue Investment Fund.

Considered as a world champion in preserving the environment, Seychelles is already engaged in activities that will help preserve the coastline or areas that have been affected by severe erosion.

Currently, the Department of Climate is working to prevent coastal erosion in the western district of Anse Boileau, where a seawall has been built to tackle flooding during high tides and heavy rain in the area.

Work is also being carried on a road along the coast of Takamaka district in the southern part of the main island Mahe. In this particular area, the Department is using rock armouring.  

Authorities in Seychelles have found that the way infrastructural development is being done along the coast is one of the factors leading to coastal erosion.

In a recent interview with SNA, the head of climate adaptation, Jean-Claude Labrosse, said, "We need to take into account the severe adverse effect coming from the sea that will affect our development. If we are in a position that we need to set back our development, please do so. The more we protrude towards the sea, the more we would suffer the impact of erosion."

Seychelles is dependent on the healthy functioning of its terrestrial and marine ecosystems for its economic development and social well-being. If these ecosystems are affected by climate change then the tourism industry, the top contributor to the Seychelles'economy, is also affected. 

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Tags: World Bank, Country Director for Seychelles, Small Island Developing States

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