During their recent three-week tour, they met with government officials, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), NGOs, and the Universities of Seychelles and Maldives. Meetings were focused on further work on ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA), food security, relocation/migration, and the Portraits of Resilience project, and resulted in developments for several projects.
Ecosystem-based adaptation was the main focus of the meetings in Seychelles, where MSV has been working with the Government for some time to develop an EbA project. Discussions on a potential project were held with the Seychelles Ministry of Environment, UNDP Small Grants Programme, and the Terrestrial Restoration Action Society of Seychelles (TRASS), an NGO focused on land degradation and reforestation. Three potential locations were discussed for a project, with Praslin Island being the strongest candidate. Forty percent of Praslin Island has been seriously degraded as a result of fires and drought; soil erosion due to lack of adequate reforestation is affecting surrounding coral reefs and seagrass beds.
Discussions were also held with UNDP to bring back the Portraits of Resilience project to Seychelles later in 2013. Seychelles was the first SIDS participant in this project in 2009. In addition, a wide-ranging discussion was held with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Industry regarding food security, one of MSV’s focal areas. The Seychelles import 70% of their food, and local agriculture has faltered in recent years as a result of the global and national economic downturn.
In Maldives, the primary focus was on the joint CICERO/TERI/GRID project “Perceptions and understandings of climate change and migration: Conceptualizing and contextualizing for Lakshadweep and the Maldives”. This was an initial fact finding mission to meet with local and national officials, build support for the project and collect baseline information. Site visits were made to Guraidhoo and Maafushi Islands, two potential field sites. Additional meetings were held with UNDP, FAO, and the Maldives National University to discuss a broad range of issues affecting Maldives, including the critical issue of waste management and food security.
Photo: Armoured seawall around Male, capital city of the Maldives. The perimeter of this 1.77 km2 island is lined with tens of thousands of concrete tetrapods that protect it from an increasingly rapid erosion. © John Crump