Building resilience against coastal erosion and sea-level rise at Mourouk
Building resilience against coastal erosion and sea-level rise at Mourouk
1.1 Project Summary
The coastline of Rodrigues is undergoing pronounced morphological changes as a result of natural causes (tropical cyclones, tidal waves) and anthropogenic activities (haphazard infrastructural development, sedimentation of lagoon due to soil erosion caused by deforestation and excessive grazing by animals, degradation of coral reefs due to pollution and the accelerated sea-level rise caused by climate change). According to IPCC assessment, sea level is expected to rise between 15 to 95 cm with a best estimate of 50 cm by the year 2100. The major impacts of sea-level rise in Rodrigues are land loss, erosion of beaches, damage to coastal infrastructure, degradation of coral reefs and loss of wetlands.
The village of Mourouk found in the south east of Rodrigues is not spared from coastal degradation. The region is part of the South Eastern Marine Protected Area (SEMPA) and according to a study on the Identification of critical habitat and resources for the Marine Protected Area (Kaly et al, 2007) the degree of erosion in the vicinity of the Mourouk beach varies from highly eroded to neutral (Figure 1).
Figure 1: Map of coastal erosion survey

Source (Kaly et al, 2007)
The region is one of the most popular beaches of the island and the constant coastal degradation is a major hazard for the development of tourism and agricultural activities in the vicinity of the beach. In some places, high tides affect agricultural lands and result in loss of fertile soil in a community where many household practise gardening. Furthermore, the coral reef at Mourouk and in around Rodrigues in general is of the "reef flat" type (this type is not common around Mauritius but significant around Rodrigues) and very prone to tidal erosion (Ministry of Environment, 2003). According to the community members the effect of erosion has been accrued in the recent years with coastal regression of up to 1 metre per year in some areas of the beach (Figure 2 and 3)
Figure 2: The secretary of the NGO indicating the position of the shoreline 15 years ago

Figure 3: Visual comparison of effect of erosion over 3 months

The extent and pace of the erosion is evident in Figure 3 above where there is a time lapse of 3 months between the 2 photographs. During that period, the island was visited by a tropical cyclone resulting in a loss of nearly 30cm on that shoreline (as can be gauged in the red circles). With regard to the overall topography of the beach, coastal erosion is wearing out the beach along the 1.2 km and the coastal sediments are being deposited at the entrance of the bay (circled on Figure 4 below)
Figure 4: Satellite view of Mourouk beach
(Source: Google Earth)
Grazing cattle is also a cause of erosion as they uproot vegetation in search of food. This activity is illegal but there is no enforcement in place and this leads to occasional social tensions The region is also a very popular camping spot with backpackers and tourists and the preservation of the beach is critical to maintain the economic activities. The Mourouk Ebony Hotel (on the bottom right corner of Figure 4) is a major economic player in the region. The Director of the Hotel was consulted on March 21 with regard to the project. He highlighted that the preservation of the beach was critical for his business and the community as the Hotel employs mainly people from the region and the given the economical situation, it is imperative to reduce the effect of erosion and restore the beach if possible to sustain economic momentum.
Furthermore, a consultative workshop was held on 19 march 2012 with the community members and other stakeholders (RRA included) to identify the threats caused by the current situation and propose corrective actions. The Mourouk/Anse Enfer lead the plea to save the beach which is seen by many as an iconic location of the island. On basis of this testimony and with photographic evidence displayed, the audience was fully supportive of the endeavour and urged to be provided with the appropriate support to fight the current coastal degradation.
Further support was gathered from the UNCT retreat held in early May whereby a site visit was organised in presence of UN agencies and high level management of the Commission of Environment. The Commissioner has expressed the determination of the RRA to tackle the problems related to erosion and highlighted the fact that this phenomena not only affects the country's topography but also has detrimental effects on the socio economic activities of the local community. As such the RRA through the Commission was fully supportive of the initiative and has pledged to provide necessary support in view of addressing the problem and also building capacity at the level of the Commission to replicate such project elsewhere in the island.
Therefore, in order to reduce the persisting degradation, the Community Village of Mourouk is proposing to handle the project in a sustainable way by understanding the erosion process, working towards reducing it and embellishing the seaside in view of catalysing socio-economic activities.
This initiative is in line with the GEF/SGP Country Programme Strategy, The GEF OP5 priorities aim to secure global environmental benefits through community based initiatives and actions and this initiative falls in the thematic focus of Coastal Zone Management. More specifically, the immediate Objective 5 of the SGP OP5 aims at "Promoting projects to build resilience in land and sea"

1.2 Organisational Background and Capacity to Implement the project
The Mourouk/ Anse Enfer Village Community, a Non Governmental Organisation (NGO), is the proposing organisation for this project. The NGO was created in 2010 and consist of 20 members all living in the Mourouk area. The members of the NGO are mainly fishermen and farmers (men and mostly women with many youth and middle age locals) having a thorough knowledge of the marine and coastal environment of the Mourouk village. None of the members are paid staff members
The organisation does not have the in-house ability or resources to combat the coastal degradation but being the representatives of the Mourouk community on this issue, they wish to drive the initiative. However, they have taken informal track record of the extent of the erosion and the most senior members claim that the coastal regression of nearly 10 metres inland has occurred over the last 15 years in some places. The president of the association is Mr Stephenson Lisette and other members (having attended the consultative workshop) include Mr John Larcher, Ms M Cyrielle, Ms Marie Viviane Edouard, and Ms Jeanette Gaspard.
1.3 Project Objectives an Expected results
The overall aim of the project is to scientifically determine the cause of erosion, sustainably halt the coastal degradation of the Mourouk beach while sustaining and even boosting the socio economic activities. Within the scope of implementing a specific adaptation technology, capacity should be built at community level to sustain the resilience strategy, to gather and disseminate information, and to monitor and evaluate progress.
The Mourouk beach has suffered from significant erosion and the stretch of beach is getting further inland with each tidal surge and spell of bad weather. Moreover, since the setting up of the SEMPA, fishing activities have been drastically reduced and fishermen are being encouraged to shift to other activities. Tourism is one of the solutions identified, hence the accrued need of protecting the Mourouk seaside. The project is also in synergy with the ongoing UNDP/GEF South Eastern Marine Protected Area (SEMPA) which aims at protecting the biodiversity of the region and can benefit from the acumen of SEMPA personnel on site at Port Sud Est. The coastal monitoring component of the SEMPA project (sandwatch) was not implemented but the personnel do have the necessary capacity to assist in the coastal monitoring component of the project. However, the inland erosion component of the SEMPA project is currently been implemented under the aegis of the Commission of Environment of the Rodrigues Regional Assembly at Port Sud Est with a budget of MUR 450,000. The project is nearing completion with the awareness and mangrove plantation phase yet to be implemented.
With regard to national priorities, the project aligns with the Environment Protection and Conservation Programme of the Sustainable Integrated Development Plan for Rodrigues (SIDPR). More specifically, it corresponds to the Priority Objectives PO1 - PO3 namely:
• PO1: Raise awareness for environment subjects and educate targeted audiences
• PO2: Protect the beaches from erosion and promote local tourism
• PO3: Upgrading/embellish public sites for recreational activities

The initiative is coherent with the GEF OP5 priorities and covers the focal areas of the SGP Country Programme (Coastal Zone Management –International Waters). More specifically it complies to:
• International Waters (IW): Hectares of marine/coastal areas or fishing grounds managed sustainably - Primary focal area
• Climate Change (CC): CCM5 Hectares of land under improved land use and climate proofing practices
• Biodiversity (BD): BD1 Hectares of protected areas influenced
• Capacity Development (CD): - Number of community-based monitoring systems demonstrated
- Number of people trained on: project development, monitoring, evaluation etc

In terms of specific results and outcomes, the following project framework is proposed:

Table 1: Specific objectives and timing of activities
Project Component Expected Outcomes Timing and Deliverables
1. Cause of erosion determined and resilience strategy formulated. • Causes and extent of coastal erosion identified.
• Tailored strategy for combating erosion prepared
• Community informed and empowered to understand the situation (legal implications, sandwatch) and to implement resilience strategy.

To be completed 8 months after project inception
• Comprehensive and updated report on status of erosion in the region produced.
• Workshops held to inform community and other stakeholders.
• Guidelines of best practices produced.
2. Resilience strategy put in place. • Anti-erosion and beach management campaign strategy launched.
To be started after 14 months (at latest) after project inception and to be completed 24 months after project start
• Hardware (equipment/ plants) and technical assistance for anti-erosion campaign available.
• Community participating in anti-erosion campaign.

3. Embellishment of beach to sustainably boost socio-economic activities
• Adequacy of existing infrastructure on the beach assessed.
• Activities promoting eco tourism implemented
To be started 3 months after project inception and completed in 10
• Development plan document (with cost implication) produced after consultation with community and other stakeholders.
• Sustainable livelihoods activities implemented - Rain water harvesting for public toilet, Parking space, re-fencing of beach etc.

4. Monitoring system in place and increased awareness • Beach erosion monitoring programme put in place, community empowered to understand climate change and lessons learnt/ project experience documented for replication To be started after initiation of resilience strategy and to be completed till end of project
• Erosion monitoring system in place to quantify progress.
• Sandwatch system put in place and database created
• Dissemination of information (e.g. in schools and other villages) though publishing and other media.
5. Project Management • Oversee the day to day activity of the project.
• Manage project funds and liaise with stakeholders
Throughout the project (24 months)
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Project Snapshot

Mourouk/Anse Enfer Village Community
Area Of Work:
International Waters
Grant Amount:
US$ 49,543.50
Co-Financing Cash:
US$ 2,141.00
Co-Financing in-Kind:
US$ 25,170.00
Project Number:
Satisfactorily Completed
Project Characteristics and Results
Gender Focus
The NGO consists of 20 members with a relatively balanced number of men and women. The women members of the NGO were highly active in the project preparation phase and view the project as a very important milestone in the socio economic development of the community. At implementation phase, the contribution of the community being in kind form (physical labour), the gender dimension will be considered when allocating responsibilities so that women are not burdened with highly physical work. In terms of benefits, the project will create livelihoods opportunities for the women. The region is popular with tourists and locals alike and with better infrastructure and a erosion-proofed beach, there is bound to be a rise in the number of visitors in the area.
Notable Community Participation
The concept idea of this project originates from the Mourouk Anse Enfer Village Community. They were consulted for the planning and design stage in presence of the Project Contact on Thursday 15 December 2011, on Sunday 18 March 2012 and during the consultative workshop held at Malabar with other stakeholders. In the implementation phase, the community members are committed to provide 200 man days worth of input in the form of the participation in project activities. This amounts to MUR 90,000 of in kind contribution with one pay day for manual labour worth MUR 450. In terms of monitoring and evaluation, a sandwatch/ erosion monitoring system will be implemented and the onus of the successfully implementing these activities will rely on the NGO. During project preparation phase, the Commission of Environment has confirmed it will be actively involved in the project activities as the protection of the coastal areas of Rodrigues is viewed as critical priority.
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Grantee Contact

Mr System Administrator


Mourouk, Rodrigues

SGP Country office contact

Mrs. Pamela Bapoo-Dundoo
(230) 213 53 84
(230) 212 14 11


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