Thursday, 28 June 2018

Minister for Environment Energy and Climate Change attends the 6th GEF Assembly

The Minister for Environment Energy and Climate Change is attending the 6th Global Environment Facility (GEF) Assembly and associated meetings taking place in Da Nang, Vietnam on the 27th – 28th June 2018.
In his statement before the 6th Assembly, he thanked the GEF for organizing a successful meeting and the Government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam for the warm hospitality afforded to him and his small delegation.

Minister Wallace Cosgrow congratulated the GEF for successfully negotiating and concluding the replenishment of funds for GEF 7.

He stated that the GEF has been an important partner in environmental management, providing assistance to facilitate the delivery of several multilateral environmental agreements.

The government and the civil society organizations with the support of GEF have together been able to make significant progress in tackling many issues through a series of projects under different thematic areas.

These projects have provided essential support to development planning processes, legal framework for environmental and land use planning, land management issues, protected area management, and mainstreaming biodiversity into key economic sectors amongst many others.
The establishment of the Project Coordination Unit in 2008 is to manage and implement GEF projects has brought about greater efficiency together with the support of the UNDP as our implementing partner.

The Minister pointed out that Seychelles is one of the recipients benefiting with the largest amount of GEF funding per capita and that he believes we have made excellent use of the support.

The Seychelles is currently implementing two GEF 6 projects, one focusing on piloting a ridge to reef approach that addresses priorities for improved management and conservation of upland forest, agricultural ecosystems as well as coastal and marine ecosystems and the other in the blue economy sector focusing on the development of sustainable fisheries and support for the execution of our marine spatial planning process and piloting of a blue bond mechanism.

The Minister also urged the GEF to continue to take Small Island Developing states unique circumstances into account and to address them in a manner that is transparent and inclusive.
The 6th Assembly is also being attended by the Principal Secretary for Energy and Climate Change, Mr Wills Agricole who is also the GEF Operational Focal Point for Seychelles.

The Global Environment Facilities (GEF) was established on the eve of 1992 Rio Earth Summit. The objectives is to tackle our planet’s most pressing environmental problems. The Assembly which is held every four years is the GEF’s highest governing body and gathers representatives of all its 183-member countries in partnership with International Institutions, Civil Society Organizations and Private Sectors to address global environmental issues while supporting national sustainable development initiatives. The Sixth GEF Assembly was an opportunity to celebrate past achievements and the launch of its seventh replenishment cycle (GEF-7).


Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Minister Wallace Cosgrow launching of the floating PV farm project at the Africa Energy Forum


19 June 2018 - In the context of the Africa Energy Forum (AEF) held in Mauritius, HE Wallace Cosgrow, Minister of Environment, Energy and Climate Change of Seychelles has announced the launch of the tender of the right to develop, finance, own and operate a 4MW floating grid-connected solar PV plant in the Lagoon le Rocher, Mahé. The Request for Qualification (RFQ) round will be formally launched on Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change (www.meecc.gov.sc), Seychelles Investment Board website (www.sib.gov.sc), Procurement Oversight Unit (www.pou.gov.sc) and Seychelles Energy Commission website (www.sec.sc) at noon (UTC+4) on 20 June 2018.

The tender and project will represent a path-breaking opportunity for the eventual successful bidder as it will be the first utility-scale floating solar PV project in all of Africa. It will be one of the first salt-water floating solar PV plants in the world. This innovative project reflects the Government of Seychelles commitment to climate change action and renewable energy development. Marine floating PV technology has significant implications for island nations and other land-scarce regions that aim to utilize renewable energy. This project aims to reduce Seychelles’ reliance on imported diesel fuel, and instead harness affordable, clean and local energy resources. The project is supported by the Clinton Foundation and the African Legal Support Facility with Trinity International LLP and Multiconsult serving as the transaction and tender advisors.

Minister Cosgrow made the announcement during his intervention at the opening ceremony of the AEF where he briefly painted the energy landscape of Seychelles, our point of situation, the challenges of our energy sector as well as the complexity of addressing our issues. He highlighted that Seychelles have made tremendous steps over the years but need to do more in order to ensure a cleaner, sustainable and affordable energy sector for the country. “As a country, we need to transition to a cleaner energy sector, we need to strengthen our energy security. We are committed and willing to address these challenges. We invite you present today to partner with us and assist us in doing so” concluded Minister Cosgrow. 

The Africa Energy Forum (AEF) is the global investment meeting for Africa’s power, energy, infrastructure and industrial sectors. Now in its 20th year, AEF brings together senior decision-makers active in Africa's energy sector to form partnerships, identify opportunities and collectively move the industry forward. AEF attracts over 2,000 senior-level representatives comprised of governments, utilities, regulators, power developers, policy makers, EPC contractors, institutional investors, development banks, commercial banks, fund managers, private equity investors, multilateral financial institutions, technology providers, consultants, law firms, IOCs & NOCs and large energy consumers to debate energy solutions, establish new connections and make decisions at the highest level. The event also has a track record of delivering a valuable networking experience.

Minister Cosgrow is attending the forum with the CEO of the Seychelles Energy Commission, Mr. Tony Imaduwa.
  

Sunday, 17 June 2018

World Desertification Day- Minister's Message


World Desertification day

"Land has a True Value, Invest in It"



Today we celebrate the World Desertification Day.  The World Desertification day has been observed by the United Nation since 1995, to create awareness about issues that affect the land.  The theme is “Land has True Value, Invest in It”. This year’s focus is how consumers can regenerate economies, create jobs and revitalize livelihoods and communities by influencing the market to invest in sustainable land management.

Desertification, is a form of land degradation, by which fertile land eventually becomes desert. Land degradation can occur as a result of natural forces such as extreme weather conditions particularly drought and coastal surges and anthropogenic factors such as combined pressures of agricultural and livestock production (over-cultivation, overgrazing, forest conversion), urbanization and deforestation.  These factors pollute or degrade the quality of soils thereby affecting food production, livelihoods and the production and provision of other ecosystem goods and services.  Land degradation has accelerated during the 20th century and as a result, a third of the planet’s land has become severely degraded with fertile soil being lost at an alarming rate in order to meet the continued demand for food and productive land for intensive agriculture.

A recent United Nations back up study has call on the global community to shift away from destructively intensive agriculture to sustainable agricultural and land practices as to reduce land degradation.  Although land degradation is considered to be low in the Seychelles, the country is still faced with major threats such as biodiversity loss, forest fires, climate change and erosion.  Recently, we witness a decrease in agricultural activity as a result of increased salinity in the soil on Praslin.  

We recognise the need and commend the positive actions being taken by all partners such as farmers to promote good and sustainable land use practices. Competition by the different land use sectors add further pressure on the limited land resource. As a result, Government has to develop sound strategies to actively and sustainably manage it.  Measures have been incorporated in the National Action Programme for Sustainable Land Management and the Seychelles Sustainable Development Strategy 2012-2020 to reduce land pollution, biodiversity loss as well as deforestation.  We hope to set out long term strategies for sustainable land management and fulfill our obligations under the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification. 

To show our commitment and our ambition to further reduce land degradation, we have set some voluntary targets to try and counterbalance the expected loss of productive land with the recovery of degraded areas.  The Ministry and other local partners are taking measures to conserve, sustainably manage and restore degraded land.   In so doing, we are also achieving various targets under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which was adopted in September 2015.

 As a small island, we are determined to protect the planet from further degradation by sustainably managing its natural resources and taking urgent action on climate change, so that it can support the needs of the present and future generations.

We cannot do it alone.  This is why I am calling on everyone to adopt and use sustainable practice to protect the land, our planet and mother earth.  Every little efforts can make a big difference.