Seychelles’ unique island and marine environments are of global importance for biodiversity, with many species found uniquely here. Recognising the critical importance of sustainably managing their ocean to the lives and livelihoods of their people, Seychelles have embarked on an ambitious pathway to transform their economy and create a sustainable and diversified economic base; address climate change adaptation; and sustainably manage their ocean ecosystem.
The Seychelles’ Marine Spatial Plan (MSP) ensures representative species and habitats have long-term protection; improves the resiliency of coastal ecosystems with a changing climate; and ensures economic opportunities for fisheries, tourism and other uses. As part of this Marine Spatial Plan, Seychelles have committed to protecting an ambitious 30% of their ocean territory by 2020, creating new Marine Protected Areas of 410,000 sq km (almost twice the size of the UK). New baseline data on ocean life in deep waters is critical to inform this plan.
“Our approach is ambitious. It is about a paradigm shift in how we manage and use our coastal and ocean resources”
- Danny Faure, President of Seychelles, February 2018
Seychelles has provided leadership on ocean governance matters in the Indian Ocean region in a number of ways:
- Seychelles pioneered the world’s first Debt for Nature Swap for the oceans, together with The Nature Conservancy. The groundbreaking debt refinancing offered Seychelles the opportunity to restructure part of its national debt in exchange for committing to specific conservation goals, as outlined in the Marine Spatial Plan. A portion of Seychelles' debt repayments now fund innovative marine protection and climate adaptation projects, through SeyCCAT (the Seychelles Conservation and Climate Adaptation Trust)
- Seychelles are implementing the Western Indian Ocean’s first comprehensive large-scale Marine Spatial Plan (and second largest in the world, after Norway), This is the first marine plan designed to address climate change and sustain a national 'Blue Economy'
- Seychelles created the world’s first Joint Management Area with Mauritius, a ground-breaking precedent for cooperative management of an area of extended continental shelf
- Seychelles is leader of the action group on Marine Protected Areas under the Commonwealth Blue Charter
- Reef Rescuers is the largest successful coral reef restoration project in the world and has been identified as a “Blue Solution for Africa”
Through the Debt for Nature Swap mechanism Seychelles have created an enabling political framework, sustainable finance, a large-scale marine spatial planning initiative and an ambitious conservation goal which sets a high benchmark for the Indian Ocean region as a whole.
"This effort will help the people of Seychelles protect their ocean for future generations, and will serve as a model for future marine conservation projects worldwide”
- Leonardo DiCaprio, February 2018