Q&A with Seychelles Minister Alain St.Ange: Sustainability

Minister Alain St.Ange participated in the 22nd Conference of the Parties (COP 22) which took place in Morocco during the Marrakech Climate Change Conference (7-18 November 2016). In this Q&A, he tells us about the Seychelles’ sustainability efforts. 

1 - In your beautiful country, climate change is clearly visible. Can you briefly tell us some of the affects you are already seeing as a result of climate change?
Climate change is felt in each and every island country and Seychelles is no exception. We see coral bleaching because of the rising water temperature. This kills our coral reefs which in turn affects fish stock. This is one area of concern. Another is coastal erosion caused by sea level rise and the increased strength of wave pounding because of stronger currents. Climate change has increased drought periods as well. These are real situations we are facing today. 

2 - What have you done to adapt with climate changes?
As a country that relies on tourism, through our policies, Seychelles has taken all the necessary actions to ensure that tourism growth does not come at the expense of the environment – from limiting the number of tourist beds and developing renewable energy sources, to actively protecting our land area and marine environment. At the same time, we are being proactive in dealing with the changes we are facing. We are building barricades to mitigate coastal erosion. One of our NGOs is developing the art of growing coral to help save our reefs. We are faced with a phenomenon that forces us to be as resourceful as we can.

3 - Your country is among the least responsible for climate change, yet it is suffering from the greatest effects of this change. The Paris Agreement has reached an unprecedented consensus. How do you view this commitment? And what impact will it have on your country?
Seychelles has joined the Community of Nations and salutes everyone who has worked to bring together the Paris Agreement. We also salute the world leaders who have come together to commit to implementing the Paris Agreement. This commitment is needed as it will alleviate the lives of so many. This will be positive for Seychelles but we understand that change won’t happen overnight. The world needs to work together to save our vulnerable planet and stop the effects we are facing already.

4 - What message is Seychelles bringing to COP22 in Marrakech? And what do you expect from this conference? Seychelles wants to see commitments turn to actions. At the African ministers meeting we just had in Marrakech, we signed a sustainable tourism declaration. This is a rallying call to help move Africa forward as a united continent. Now actions need to follow this commitment and appropriate funding is necessary to see actions through. 

About Seychelles Tourism Board

The Seychelles is an archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean off East Africa. It's home to numerous beaches, coral reefs and nature reserves, as well as rare animals such as giant Aldabra tortoises. Mahé, a hub for visiting the other islands, is home to the nation's capital, Victoria. It is also home to the mountain rainforests of Morne Seychellois National Park and the world's most breathtaking beaches, including Beau Vallon and Anse Takamaka. With so many islands to choose from, each with an enchanting charm and character all its own, and over 65 beaches on the principal island of Mahé alone, visitors are sure to find their own piece of paradise for a little downtime in the sun and sand.

Seychelles Tourism Board
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