Seychelles launches $31 million ‘Ridge to Reef’ project to protect island’s ecosystems

A first-of-its-kind project in Seychelles will go a long way in helping the island nation improve the management of its marine, coastal and terrestrial ecosystems.

Officials from the United Nations Development Progamme, and Seychelles’ government signed a document launching the ‘Ridge to Reef’ project.

The $31 million project, financed by the UNDP and the government, will be implemented over six years.

“First of all it’s going to focus on enhancing the management and conservation of not just agricultural ecosystems and the upland forest but also as well coastal and marine ecosystem,” said UNDP Resident Representative Amanda Serumaga.

Serumaga says sustainable management of the island’s ecosystems and biodiversity will also guarantee some of the livelihoods of Seychelles residents.

The project objective is to undertake a comprehensive Ridge to Reef approach addressing the ‘whole island’ priorities of improved management and conservation.

It is also designed to reduce threats to globally significant biodiversity by strengthening the country’s system of marine protected areas and reducing negative land-based impacts on those ecosystems.

“The project will have a very strong community outreach component to it, educating the general public, the different groups in society. There will be the involvement of associations and of young people. There are resources in the project to ensure that there is enough educational awareness for all groups,” explained Alain Decomarmond, the Principal Secretary for Environment from the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change.

TRASS — a not for profit organisation based on Praslin — will be implementing the project on the island. Elvina Henriette, biodiversity consultant working with TRASS said that the main activity will be the replanting of trees and other plants in mountainous areas.

“This project is crucial as there is a connectivity between mountains, rivers and the coast. All that happens at the top has a direct impact on what happens at the bottom. You cannot have a programme that looks only at one side but we must consider a landscape approach so that whatever is done at the mountains will have a positive impact on the reef,” Henriette told SNA.

On the coast, the project aims to create specially protected areas for turtles to lay their eggs during the breeding season.

Source: CGTN