Two new grant agreements have been signed between Seychelles and the executive body of the European Union providing as much as $6.4 million to foster sustainable development and combat climate change in the small island state of about 90,000 inhabitants.
The agreement was signed by Jean-Paul Adam, Foreign Affairs Minister, on behalf of Seychelles and the funds will be used to create programmes that will also help Seychelles adapt to climate change.
One of the financing agreements signed was a grant for EUR 2.2 million ($2.7 million) for the Seychelles National Indicative Programme. The grant is expected to be funded under the 11th European Development Fund, the main EU instrument for aiding development cooperation overseas especially in Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific countries. It will facilitate capacity building through specialized technical assistance for studies, evaluations and analytical work under the Seychelles Sustainable Development Strategy (SSDS).
The second grant of EUR 3 million (S3.7 million) will be utilized for the implementation of the Seychelles’ national Climate Change Strategy (SSCS) by strengthening policy framework and supporting adaption to climate change measures in coastal areas. This will be provided under the Global Climate Change Support Programme of the EU.
Mr Adam lauded the EU’s commitment to assisting developing states attain the 2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and highlighted the ongoing negotiations on the Post-2015 United Nations MDGs, especially in relation to climate change concerns and developing the concept of the Blue Economy.
“Within the Post-2015 agenda, we must also consider the unique challenges and specificities of the Small Island Developing States (SIDS). Seychelles will continue to emphasize on the need to develop the vulnerability index for SIDS,” said Minister Adam.
Maritime security is a concern for the island, and Mr Adam emphasized the role of information-sharing as an inhibitor of international maritime criminal activities such as piracy and drug trafficking. Seychelles has been supported by regional and international bodies including the EU Naval Force (EUNAVFOR) in enhancing maritime security through the Regional Fusion and Law Enforcement Center Safety and Security at Sea (REFLECS 3) organization.
“It is through the continued support of the EU that we, the East African region, have been able to fight the menace of piracy activities. However, the threats of piracy remain and REFLECS 3 will continue its work in providing the maritime security and law enforcement communities with a regional focal point for reporting, analyzing and coordinating investigations within the South West of the Indian Ocean,” said Adam.
In this respect, he added that the island was looking forward to hosting an AU-EU conference on maritime security next year.
By Emmanuel Iruobe