20 May 2024

Seychelles sets its sights on sustainability

| The European |

Few places on the planet are more pristine than Seychelles, but that’s not stopped the islands’ authorities implementing a raft of green initiatives

Sustainability has become a critical concept, gaining in importance with each passing day as we strive to find ways to meet our present needs without compromising future generations. In Seychelles, sustainability is a core value that underpins many of the nation’s policies, initiatives, and development strategies. This is because Seychelles, as an island nation, is acutely aware of the fragility of its natural resources and the need to protect them for future generations.

Seychelles is a small island nation located in the Indian Ocean, northeast of Madagascar. The country is made up of 115 islands, with a population of around 98,000 people. Despite its small size, Seychelles is home to an incredible range of flora and fauna, with over 50% of its landmass dedicated to protected areas, including two UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The country’s marine ecosystem is equally diverse and supports a range of species, including whale sharks, humpback whales, and various species of turtles.

Residents of Seychelles, the giant tortoise is the longest-living animal on the planet

Investing for tomorrow 

One of the most significant sustainability initiatives in Seychelles is the country’s commitment to renewable energy. The Seychelles government has set a target to produce 25% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030. To achieve this, the country has invested heavily in solar power and wind energy, with a number of large-scale projects currently underway. For example, in 2020, the Seychelles government launched the Floating Solar Project, which involved the installation of a large-scale solar farm on a floating platform in the lagoon of Mahé Island. The project is expected to generate up to 4.4 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, reducing the country’s reliance on fossil fuels and lowering its carbon footprint

In addition to its renewable energy initiatives, Seychelles is also committed to sustainable tourism. The country’s tourism industry is a vital part of its economy, accounting for around 30% of its GDP. However, the government recognises the need to balance economic growth with environmental protection and has implemented a range of measures to promote sustainable tourism. For example, the Seychelles Sustainable Tourism Label (SSTL) is a certification programme that recognises tourism establishments that have implemented sustainable practices. To date, over 40 establishments have been certified under the SSTL, including hotels, guesthouses, and tour operators.

Enjoy a tour of the Sauzier Waterfall, Mahé

Blue economy 

Seychelles is also committed to protecting its marine environment, recognising the importance of its oceans and the need to safeguard them for future generations. In 2020, the country launched the Blue Bond initiative, the world’s first sovereign blue bond. The bond raised $15m to finance sustainable fisheries, protect marine habitats, and develop the country’s blue economy. The bond was oversubscribed, indicating strong investor interest in sustainable initiatives and signalling the potential for other countries to follow Seychelles’ lead.

Another notable sustainability initiative in Seychelles is the Island Development Company (IDC). The IDC is a state-owned company responsible for developing and managing several of the country’s outer islands, with a focus on sustainable development. The company’s objectives include promoting eco-tourism, developing renewable energy sources, and protecting the islands’ biodiversity. One of its most significant projects is the development of a sustainable aquaculture industry on the remote Aldabra Atoll, which has the potential to provide food security for the country while protecting its marine environment.

In conclusion, Seychelles is a country that has made significant progress in promoting sustainability across many sectors. Its commitment to renewable energy, sustainable tourism, marine conservation, and the sustainable development of its outer islands are all examples of its leadership in promoting a better future both on the islands and beyond.

Further information 

Main image: Savour a tropical paradise at Grande Soeur Island

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