Seychelles and Mauritius have received a US$2 million grant from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) in order to implement the 2018-2020 Strategic Plan for the joint management of the Mascarenes Plateau, a submarine plateau in the Indian Ocean that extends 2,000km between the two countries
Seychelles and Mauritius have received a US$2 million grant from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) in order to implement the 2018-2020 Strategic Plan for the joint management of the Mascarenes Plateau, a submarine plateau in the Indian Ocean that extends 2,000km between the two countries.
The project will focus on building technical and management capacity for a Marine Spatial Information System, as well as the effective development and management of the joint management area (JMA) between the two coastal states.
The project has a timeframe of four years and will be conducted by the Department for Continental Shelf, Maritime Zones Administration and Exploration, Ministry of Defence and Rodrigues of Mauritius and a project manager appointed from Seychelles.
This Joint Commission will develop a capacity development and training programme, including training courses and workshops, and will also assist in conducting regional and global meetings with the two states’ technical cadre on the joint management process and the implementation of Marine Spatial Planning.
Furthermore, the project will support existing industry partners to implement mapping and monitoring programmes within the JMA and help the Joint Commission to develop contingency plans for the offshore extractive industry.
A data and information system, which will utilise a data capture and gap-filling programme, is being created as a baseline for an adaptive management strategy.
Surveys of the Mascarenes Plateau will be conducted to support the system and joint authority strategy.
This will help identify and enable access to technologies appropriate for training and capacity building, establish targets for a long-term monitoring programme and ensure results from data analysis can be fed through a reliable mechanism into management and policy guidelines to provide adaptive management options.
Another focus will be on the implementation of a Marine Spatial Planning approach that will encourage effective decision-making regarding activities in the JMA.
In terms of finance, the project will help the Joint Commission to identify funding mechanisms for management through Marine Spatial Planning and will develop a monitoring process for reviewing progress in management and attainment of goals.
Overall, the project aims to create a sustainable `Blue/ Ocean Economy’ where both partner-countries have access to natural resources and the areas economic benefits whilst protecting the livelihoods of its users, its biodiversity and life-supporting ecological systems.
Read More: In 2015 James Michel, former President of the Republic of Seychelles, called for the development of a ‘blue economy’ in the Indian Ocean, which emphasises the economic potential of the seas while protecting maritime resources