Seychelles on look-out for land degradation threats
"The program is an important process as it will prompt us to really focus on the potential impact that our current activities are having on the general integrity of our shores and coastlines," said Muzungaile (Jude Morel, Seychelles Nation)
(Seychelles News Agency) - The occurrence of land degradation in Seychelles is low but the country is faced with threats which can eventually lead to it, said a top official in the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change.
The ministry’s director general for biodiversity conservation and management, Marie-May Muzungaile, made the statement at a workshop on Thursday based on the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) Land Degradation Neutrality Target Setting Programme (LDN TSP).
Muzungaile said the threats that can lead to land degradation in the island nation include loss of biodiversity, forest fires, climate change and erosion.
The Seychelles' participation and interest in the Land Degradation Neutrality Target Setting Programme is to set targets while achieving the goal 15 of the U.N.'s Sustainable Development Goals.
The goal to “sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, and halt biodiversity loss is part of the 17 goals adopted by world leaders in September 2015 in a new sustainable development agenda to be achieved over the next 15 years.
The main objective of the workshop is to establish the national working group and introduce the target-setting programme to the stakeholders such as the private sector, hotel and tourist operators, farmers’ association, environment/biodiversity conservation non-governmental organisations (NGOs)as well as international and regional funding partners.
|A souvenir photograph of the participants in the Land degradation neutral target setting programme. (Jude Morel, Seychelles Nation) Photo License: CC-BY
Muzungaile said, “The programme seeks to identify contributing factors to such challenges and at the same time, provide us with the opportunity of setting targets to be achieved by 2030.”
Seychelles is now amongst 82 other countries committed to set LDN targets.
The target on land degradation neutrality of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) offers the opportunity to bring the issue of land and the multiple benefits of sustainable development to the forefront of the development agenda.
“The programme is an important process as it will prompt us to really focus on the potential impact that our current activities are having on the general integrity of our shores and coastlines,” said Muzungaile.
The global team leader for UNCCP Svet Walter said that the plan is to support the 115-island archipelago in identifying strategies to become land degradation neutral.
“This process provides an opportunity for Seychelles to review their policies and define national targets in terms of LDN,” Walter told SNA.
He added that although the UNCCD will provide some basic funding to steer the process it is not an investment process but rather one of policy advice as well as identifying investment opportunities together with other partners.
There are other island states currently taking part in the programme such as Cape Verde, Sao Tome, Mauritius and the Comoros, which Walter explained have common challenges.
In order to fully support the implementation and its participation in the programme, Seychelles has recruited a consultant Arvind Dookhun, to provide technical guidance.
“After previous visits to the country, I have found that although Seychelles is more or less green, there are problems such as coastal erosion, lack of agricultural land for own production, as well as pressures on housing development which is moving towards the hillside and causes problems such as land slide and flooding,” Dookhun told SNA.
He added that, “However, these issues in Seychelles are not critical but the programme is a good opportunity for the country to be land degradation neutral much before 2030.”