The mangroves and seagrasses restoration actors of the Western Indian Ocean Region to benefit from Seychelles experiences

The Climate Change and Energy Department within the Ministry of Agriculture, Climate Change and Environment and the Blue Economy Department within the Ministry of Fisheries and the Blue Economy in Seychelles, in support and partnership with the RECOS project of the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) and the University of Seychelles, organized the first Regional Workshop, on Essential coastal and littoral ecosystems: mangroves and seagrass beds. The workshop took place over 3 days, with the first and second sessions taking place on Thursday the 27th and Friday the 28th of April at the Berjaya Beach Hotel at Beau Vallon, and the third session finishing with a field trip visit at the RAMSAR site at Port Launay and a visit to the seagrass beds at Anse Aux Pins on Saturday the 29th of April. The workshop’s main objective was to enhance the WIOMN and WIOSN structuration, planification and work. These are two existing regional networks that are respectively dedicated to mangroves and seagrasses management and restoration.

In his opening statement the Principal Secretary for Climate Change, Mr. Tony Imaduwa mentioned that Seychelles recognizes the benefits of the Blue Carbon ecosystems and that is reflected in our Updated Nationally Determined Contribution, (NDC) or climate pledge to the Paris Agreement, which we submitted in July 2021, champions for the blue carbon ecosystems in relation to mangroves and the vast expanses of seagrass meadow, forms part of our Marine Protected Areas (MPA). The intention is to protect 50% of these ecosystems by 2025 and 100% by the year 2030.
“Together, as a team, we can definitely achieve our objectives that will help to strengthen both the regional and national governance of the coastal and marine ecosystems in the Indian Ocean. Furthermore, we can assist each other to implement the innovative project ideas that will help to restore and use these coastal and marine ecosystems in a more sustainable manner” said Mr. Imaduwa.
“Through these exchanges, we hope to share this valuable expertise with other actors in the region and provide an overview of the various initiatives related to the conservation of essential marine and coastal ecosystems underway in our region,” said Mr Christophe Legrand, Regional Coordinator of the RECOS project.

The workshop was an opportunity for the participants to share their experiences and enrich their knowledge related to mangroves and seagrass conservation in the WIO region. Action plans were also developed in the process for RECOS support activities for the two networks and two members of these networks based in the Indian Ocean Commission member states.
As part of their workshop, the participants visited a Ramsar Site, at Port Launey and Anse aux Pins on the 30th of April. The participants witness concrete examples and best practices in Seychelles. Activities included a demonstration of mangrove conservation methodologies and seagrass beds monitoring.

The RECOS project, which is funded by the Agence française de développement (AFD) and the FFEM, aims to strengthen the resilience of coastal populations to the effects of climate change by restoring coastal and marine ecosystem services. More specifically, the project strengthens both national and regional governance of coastal and marine ecosystems in the Indian Ocean. It also implements innovative, varied, and replicable projects for the restoration and sustainable use of coastal and marine ecosystems based on a scientific working group.

The participants who attended the workshop included representatives from the Climate Change and Energy Department (CCED, RECOS, WIOMN (Western Indian Ocean Mangrove Network) and WIOSN (Western Indian Ocean Seagrass Network), Fonds français pour l’environnement mondial (FFEM), the Seychelles Conservation and Adaptation Trust (SeyCCAT), the Blue Economy Research Institute (BERI), the Seychelles Island Foundation (SIF), Seychelles Parks and Gardens Authority (SPGA), Red Conservation, Research National Aires, GVI Seychelles, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and WCS Madagascar and local private consultants and national representatives for the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) region from Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius and Seychelles.