Climate change affects our daily life –over the last few years we have, in the Seychelles, observed its effects in our traditional productive sectors such as fisheries and agriculture which depend on local weather and climate conditions. More severe and longer drought periods, more intense but shorter rainy season all work to reduce the productivity and so impact livelihoods of communities. Adapting to climate change involves reducing exposure and sensitivity to the effects and increasing the capacity of local communities in the face of such adversity.
The first steps to community-based adaptation to climate change in the Seychelles were taken on 18 January 2013 by the official launch of the AusAID funded Small Islands Developing States(SIDS) Community Based Adaptation (CBA) programme by the representative of the Government of Australia, Hon Richard Marles, Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs and Foreign Affairs. Also in attendance were Ms Sandra Vegting, the Australian High Commissioner for Seychelles, Prof. Rolph A. Payet Minister for Environment and Energy, and other partners.
The Small Grants Programme entered a partnership with the Australian Government Overseas Aid Program in 2009 with the objective to improve the adaptive capacity of communities and to reduce their vulnerability to the impacts of climate change. The first phase of the partnership started in the Mekong and Asia Pacific region and was recently expanded to 38 Small Island Developing States. The Small Island Developing States Community-Based Adaption (SIDS-CBA) Project, is funded by Australian Aid, implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and delivered by the GEF Small Grants Programme (SGP). Its goal is to enable vulnerable communities in SIDS to identify and implement community based adaptation measures, apply and adapt the methodologies developed and tested by previous community-based adaptation projects implemented by SGP across the globe to reduce their vulnerability to the impacts of climate change.
In the Seychelles, the new SIDS CBA programme will focus on Praslin because out of the 3 main inhabited islands, it is the most affected by climate change. Currently Praslin is suffering from severe coastal erosion, and salinity of agricultural zones. SIDS CBA will work with coastal communities to address adaptation to coastal erosion with the Baie Ste Anne farmers for salinity intrusion in agricultural lands. Both of which have negative impact on Praslin communities.
Results of the projects will contribute to generate knowledge on community based adaptation practices, share best practices and lessons learned at the national level which can inform policies on related matters.