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Speech of
theHon. Devanand Virahsawmy, GOSK, FCCA
Minister of
Environment & Sustainable Development
on the occasion of the
Announcement Of Funding
Of Four Environmental Projects
Under Australian Agency For
International Development (Ausaid)
Small Island Developing States Community
Based Adaptation Program (Sids-Cba)
Tuesday 05 March 2013 at 15.15hrs
Australian High Commission
Level 2 - Rogers House - Port Louis
Hon Richard Marles, Australian Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific
Island Affairs and Foreign Affairs
Mrs Sandra Vegting, Australian High Commissioner
Mr Manoj Vaghjee, Chairperson of the National Steering Committee,
Small Grants Programme
MrsPamela Bappoo-Dundoo, National coordinator UNDP GEF SGP
Distinguished Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen
I am pleased to be in your midst this afternoon on the occasion of the
announcement of the funding of four environmental projects under the
Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) Small Island
Developing States Community Based Adaptation Program.
I would like, on behalf of the Government of Mauritius, to express my
appreciation to the Australian Government and to the Parliamentary
Secretary for Pacific Islands Affairs and Foreign Affairs for the financial
support towards the realization of Community Based Projects in
Mauritius to keep build resilience against climate change among the
communities concerned.
The impacts of climate change are worsening worldwide and this trend is
most likely to continue in the coming decades. Latest scientific reports
released by international organizations, clearly indicate that the world is
heading towards an unprecedented climate change crisis.
In fact, climate change is recognized as one of the most important
challenges of our time. In its recent release, the International Energy
Agency indicated that the year 2011 was the warmest with record level
of greenhouse gas emissions. Massive ice loss from the ice sheets of
Greenland and Antarctica has accelerated and is now considered to be
the largest contributor to sea level rise. As a result of this phenomenon,
the rate of sea level rise has doubled during the past twenty years
compared to the rate of increase observed over the entire last century.
The most frightening impact of these threatening realities is the
disappearance of many houses and low-lying infrastructures in small
island countries like Tuvalu in the Pacific as well as a number of low
lying islets in Seychelles and Maldives. Even our Saint Brandon Island
which is only about two metres above mean sea level would not be
The flash flood events which occurred last month, the higher
temperatures recorded over Mauritius in recent years and the
accentuating beach erosions, are but a few examples to illustrate that
climate change impacts in Mauritius are real.
Addressingclimate change requires therefore a comprehensive and
multi-disciplinary approach. Government has placed this issue high on
its agenda and has already adopted a series of measures to mitigate the
impacts of climate change.
The most prominent one is the Prime
Minister’s “Maurice Ile Durable” initiative the objective of which is to
make Mauritius a model of sustainable development. Actions taken by
the Government to reduce our vulnerability and increase our resilience to
climate change include investment in renewable energy, promotion of
energy efficient technologies and practices and the introduction of duty
rebate on vehicles emitting less carbon dioxide.
As far as my Ministry is concerned, we are actively involved in the
promotion of Sustainable Consumption and Production practices,
enhancement of Disaster Risk Reduction and Management, the
rehabilitation of eroded sites and the identification of technology needs
to facilitate adaptation and mitigation against climate change, amongst
We are also actively supporting mainstreaming of climate
change in the Environment, Agriculture, Fisheries, Tourism and Water
sectors. Research and Development, Education and Sensitisation, are
also among our main concerns.
My Ministry has also embarked since last year on the implementation of
a major project entitled “Climate Change Adaptation Programme in
the Coastal Zone of Mauritius”. The cost of the project is 9.1 million
USD and it will be implemented over the next five years, with the support
of the Adaptation Fund Board.
The objectiveof thisprogramme is to
increase climate resilience of coastal communities and improve their
livelihoods. The project will encompass the construction of a Refuge
Centre, the implementation of an early warning system for storm surge,
coastal adaptation works at three vulnerable sites, including planting of
mangroves, as well as capacity building.
The Adaptation Fund project also promotes knowledge-sharing to
leverage opportunities for learning and enable successful community
based adaptation approaches to be replicated in other vulnerable areas,
both within Mauritius and in other Small Island Developing States.
I am pleased to note that one of the above project components will be
implemented in partnership with the Australian Government, the UNDP
and the support of the GEF Small Grants Programmewith a view to
enhance the resilience of the coastal communities but alsoto introduce
new options for income generation. The two AusAid funded projects
which aim at enhancing resilience among fishermen as well as
developing alternative livelihoods of women in Grand Sable and
QuatreSoeurs are in line with the Maurice Ile Durable concept as well as
the Millennium Development Goals for reducing poverty.
The UNDP and the SGP have been our strategic partners for more than
15 years.
With their financial support we have implemented several
projects, including the Waste Segregation Programme in schools.
wish, on behalf of the Government of Mauritius, to convey our heartfelt
thanks to all donors.
I would also like to wish best of luck to the
beneficiaries in the implementation of the projects and assure them that
my Ministry will provide full support to the community during the
implementation process.
I want to underscore that this community
based approach maintain a strong focus in the climate risk reduction and
develop alternative livelihood measures targeted to the beneficiaries.
Confronting climate change is our shared challenge. Dealing with it has
been our shared opportunity and tackling it must be our shared
achievement.To-day, we are taking a very important step to further
strengthen the collaboration between Australia and Mauritius. The
journey in migrating from a vulnerable island to a resilient island state
will certainly give us more opportunities to tie our strong relationship.
I am convinced that this project will pave the way for a long lasting
collaboration between our two countries, especially in the context of
Climate Change Adaptation.
Thank you for your attention.