Adaptation to Climate Change: The European Union assists in addressing flooding on the island of La Digue
H.E Marjaana Sall, Ambassador of the European Union to the Republic of Seychelles and Mr Simon Springett, the United Nations Resident Coordinator UNDO Resident Representative signed a new agreement of 1,360,ooo euros for climate adaption. The agreement is part of the EU funded GCAA+ programme that was signed by the Governement of Seychelles in December 2014. With this agreement, the EU confirms its support in addressing recurrent flooding on La Digue.
H. E. Marjaana Sall, Ambassador of the European Union to the Republic of Seychelles, stated:
– “The EU is pleased to be associated with this important project. The launch of this climate change mitigation project on La Digue is an excellent illustration of how decisions taken in the Paris COP 21 Conference are being turned into concrete actions. Through this project, the EU reiterates its commitment to support Government in the implementation of its National Climate Change Strategy.”
The EU support is provided under the Global Climate Change Alliance Programme (GCCA+), a global EU programme aimed at supporting countries to respond to climate change.
The devastating floods of 2013 demonstrated the high vulnerability of several areas on La Digue. These zones are particularly prone to flooding for several reasons. First of all, because of the topography of the land in these low-lying, flat zones and secondly because of inadequate drainage systems that can allow the water to find its way to the sea. With the rise in both the frequency and the volume of precipitation as a result of climatic change – the flooding of these zones have now become recurrent.
Besides health hazards caused by flooding, the local population also suffered from economic losses resulting from affected crop cultivations. At the same time, floods can also seriously impact on tourism which is the main economic activity on La Digue Island.
The activities funded by the European Union consist of studies and scientific surveys, and construction of drains and bridges on five identified outlets. The objective is to put in place adequate infrastructure to allow the water to flow to the sea and hence prevent flooding upstream.
The project will be implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
H. E. Simon Springett, UN Resident Coordinator, and UNDP Resident Representative for Mauritius and Seychelles stated:
“UNDP is pleased to be associated once again with the EU in supporting the implementation of this important project which is in line with our ongoing programme on climate change mitigation and adaptation at the national level. It will complement our ongoing programme on ecosystem based adaptation and ensure coverage of all the main islands of Seychelles”
Also present at the signing ceremony, Minister for Environment, Energy and Climate Change, Minister Didier Dogley made reference to the agreement produced in Paris last December describing it as “historic, fair and ambitious”, from which the developed and developing countries alike are required to limit their emissions to relatively safe levels, of 2C with an aspiration of 1.5C.
“Although finance will be provided to developing nations, SIDS like Seychelles are concerned that the money provided will not be nearly enough. Nevertheless the new EU GCCA+ project will contribute immensely in building climate- resilience within our communities.” said the Minister.
The GCCA+, which in 2014, replaced its predecessor the GCCA, has maintained its focus on countries and communities most vulnerable to climate change, especially those in small island developing states (SIDS). The GCCA programme, which was for a total envelope of 3, 000, 000 euros has helped Government between 2010 and 2014 in mainstreaming climate change in national development policies, and in the development of a solid institutional and legal framework for the energy sector.