The Nature Conservacy mobilising $80 million debt-swap for Seychelles
Seychellois fishermen at Beau Vallon beach pulling in their fishing nets. Seychelles relies on the ocean for its fish, as fisheries activities are its second most important source of national revenue, after tourism (Gerard Larose, Seychelles Tourism Board)
(Seychelles News Agency) - USA's largest environmental organisation The Nature Conservancy has said it will mobilise an $80 million debt-swap for the government of Seychelles, according to an online statement today.
"With more than 30 years experience in marine conservation and restoration efforts, The Nature Conservancy is acting to mobilize an $80 million (USD) debt-swap for the government of the Seychelles in exchange for their commitment to enhance marine conservation and climate adaptation commitments. The effort will also establish a permanent endowment that generates sustainable financing for Seychelles’ marine conservation efforts," reads the statement.
The project aims to create the Indian Ocean’s second largest marine reserve where some 200,000 square kilometers of Seychelles’ territorial waters would be classified as “replenishment zones” to protect important tuna feeding grounds, and therefore the tuna industry, which is the second pillar of the Seychelles economy.
The Nature Conservancy says the project has the 'leadership support' of Oceans 5, an international funders collaborative of philanthropists, which works to conserve the oceans of the world.
"The Conservancy is facilitating a marine spatial planning process that engages multiple stakeholders (fishing, energy tourism, government and conservation) in the development of a sustainable use plan. The Conservancy is also providing financial expertise to help complete the swap and the design of the permanent trust fund."
Under the initiative, the Seychelles government will set up the Seychelles’ Conservation & Climate Adaptation Trust (SeyCCAT), which will be used to purchase and restructure the debt the country has accumulated.
The Conservancy expects that after 20 years, the endowment will be fully capitalized at nearly $45 million and will pay out approximately $2.25 million per year to fund continued marine conservation and climate adaptation activities.
On Friday, the Seychelles government announced that it had presented the Seychelles debt swap initiative to Paris club members, including the governments of the United Kingdom, France and Belgium, as these countries are the main bilateral creditors of Seychelles.