Creating a Native Green Space at the Citadel of Port Louis
Creating a Native Green Space at the Citadel of Port Louis
1. Executive Summary
The deleterious impacts of deforestation and global warming are more than ever increasingly being felt and already taking its toll in terms of human lives and losses to property and agricultural productions. This trend is set to accelerate as more primary growth forests continue to be destroyed and millions of tons of carbon dioxide poured daily into the atmosphere by human activities. The consensus among credible scientists is that the situation is becoming catastrophic for our civilization in the medium term if concrete measures are not taken immediately to both combat these changes and facilitate adaptations to them. There is both a practical and moral cause to take decisive action. At the same time, biodiversity worldwide is declining at an alarming rate, with the planet entering the sixth mass extinction, and the only one caused by a species – us. Ultimately conserving biodiversity boils down to conserving ourselves since we unquestionably depend on biodiversity for our well being and ultimately survival.
At its own local scale, the proposed project aims at contributing towards addressing these two most serious forms of environmental degradation by recreating a native woodland which has been destroyed by humans, while at the same time helping establish new populations of rare or threatened native and endemic plants and restoring damaged or lost ecosystem services. The aim of the present project is to re-instate a native plant cover in an area of about 1 ha on the flanks of the Petite Montagne (or about 10% of the total area of the site) with suitable native plants, respecting the national historical heritage. It is hoped that following restoration of that show-case area, other funders would be interested to continue with full-scale restoration of the Citadel.
The planned restored native vegetation cover on the Petite Montagne, where the Citadel is located, will also constitute a public green metropolitan area in the heart of the capital city for leisure and help build awareness about our unique biodiversity, notoriously one of the most threatened in the world (Figure 1). Once created, this green area can be a unique feature on the island along side another attraction, the Citadel itself. Such a proposed green area agrees with the present and future multiple use of the site.
Friends of the Environment (FoE) is a registered NGO which has been active over the past two decades in many spheres where the environment is concerned – these include many educational projects in schools throughout the island as well as publication and gratuitous distribution of booklets, pamphlets, and games concerning the environment. FoE has been active in the organisation of environmentally important conferences and seminars. We have renovated and now assume management of the Martello Tower Museum and, through the Heritage Trust, continue the rehabilitation of cemeteries. Members have been participating on many committees for the environment over the years. We are currently running the 'Restoration and Valorisation of the Citadel of Port Louis' project, under the Tourism Authority, with a team of experts comprised of architect, historians, archaeologists, and ecologists, that envisages the historical restoration and valorisation of the Citadel heritage to be used for tourism, education and leisure purposes.

Figure 1: Petite Montagne with the Citadel in the heart of Port Louis
We wish to apply to UNDP GEF/SGP for the total sum, i.e. US$ 50,000 (approximately MRU 1,505,000). It is planned already, through the Ministry of Tourism to upgrade the area. The Municipality of Port Louis, the Tourism Authority and Discover Mauritius have been approached to contribute to provide workers and volunteers for the planting and to any related costs as they arise. The Lions Club of Curepipe and the Rotary Club Citadelle have also been contacted to participate in this project, through donation of native plants, nursery space and helping with awareness activities and to involve the community, mainly local schools (3 primary and 3 secondary schools in the area). The National Parks and Conservation Service is willing to participate with donation of seeds and seedlings. The State Property Development Co. has expressed interest in managing the project and to provide a landscaper to design a nature trail. All these partners have carried out a site visit to the September and have agreed on the exact location to be developed first and on providing respective in-cash and in-kind support as arises.
 
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Project Snapshot

Grantee:
Friends of the Environment
Country:
Mauritius
Area Of Work:
Biodiversity
Climate Change Mitigation
Grant Amount:
US$ 50,000.00
Co-Financing Cash:
US$ 66,611.00
Co-Financing in-Kind:
US$ 58,621.00
Project Number:
MAR/SGP/OP4/Yr3/CORE/09/02
Status:
Satisfactorily Completed

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Project Characteristics and Results
Capacity - Building Component
Meetings have already been organised with the mayor of Port Louis and the representatives of the Lions Club of Curepipe and the Rotary Club Citadel to help with awareness activities and to involve the community, mainly local schools. School involvement would involve help with planting. School children would be sensitised to the activities on-going on Petite Montagne itself but also to those occurring on a broader scale in Mauritius in the field of biodiversity conservation for example through guided visits to The National Park or Ile aux aigrettes. Each school could be awarded a specific area on Petite Montagne where a sign post could be erected with the school’s name, to increase sense of ownership, and help ensure the long-term sustainability of the project. Similar activity should be done with residents, who could act as the ‘Citadel green police’. The members of the ‘Citadel green police’ would be registered and receive a badge for easy identification. Such involvement of local residents would, most probably, help decrease cases of possible vandalism and emergencies (fire outbreaks, plants dying due to insect attack, lack of water, etc). A teacher/guide could be trained about the importance and ecological principles involved in the Citadel green space. This person could deliver talks at schools and receive members of the public for organised guided tours. Commemorations related with Biodiversity and Environment Days could take place at the Citadel. Personalities could be asked to plant rare species at the site. The Citadel is today an important tourist site in Mauritius. Tourists could be involved in the project also. They could pay for planting trees, which would be numbered with aluminium tags. Money received should be reverted to the project, with clear and open accounts. A dedicated website should be created to show progress, inform the public of organised activities and serve as a repository of photos showing the changes occurring in the site. The impact of the project in the community could be evaluated by the number of school and residents involved, number of tourist-planted trees, number of guide visits, number of media appearances.
Promoting Public Awareness of Global Environment
School children, corporates, government, municipality etc..
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Indicators
Biophysical
Number of globally significant species protected by project 35
Biophysical
Hectares of globally significant biodiversity area protected or sustainably managed by project 3

Grantee Contact

Mr Philippe Lahausse de La Louviere
 

Address

La Preneuse Road, Riviere Noire

SGP Country office contact

Mrs. Pamela Bapoo-Dundoo
Phone:
(230) 213 53 84
Fax:
(230) 212 14 11
Email:

Address

2nd Floor, Sugar Industry Pension Fund Building, 1 Remy Ollier Street
Port Louis, Mauritius

Country Website