Cousin Island Special Reserve was the island famously bought for conservation by BirdLife International in 1968, and it is now managed by Nature Seychelles. I visited the island at the beginning of the year to inspect catastrophic coastal erosion that had occurred, and it was the first time I had seen anything like it since we took over management.
Everything was affected. Dozens of hawksbill turtle nests had been washed away, exposed or saturated with water during the nesting season. Infrastructure was also affected: from our photovoltaic array that powers the island, to wardens' houses, the visitor shelter, field station and the helipad. At that time, it was becoming increasingly difficult to manage our ecotourism program due to persistent bad weather. This affects revenue that not only runs the island, but is pumped back into conservation. Now, with the COVID-19 pandemic, we are facing a collapse in tourism and conservation efforts at Nature Seychelles. We have to act fast to adapt to these changes.
As an island nation, our livelihoods are intricately tied to the ocean. Two of our most important economic pillars - tourism and fisheries - depend on the ocean. Seychelles is famous for its environmental protection. The country recently committed 30% of its waters to marine protection way ahead of global targets. However, we are faced with enormous ocean-related challenges exacerbated by the financial ripple effects of COVID-19. Our Small Island State is bearing the brunt of climate change and all around Seychelles the impacts are being felt in all kinds of ways.
In the last 20 years, Nature Seychelles has risen to the task to adapt to the inevitability of changing times with innovative and norm-breaking projects. Our Reef Rescuers project moved a never-ending discussion as well as a long-running research agenda on coral bleaching into real action. This project in the marine protected area of Cousin Island began in 2010 with the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and later the Global Environment Facility through the Government of Seychelles and UNDP, after corals in Seychelles suffered massive die-off from the devastating 1998 El Niño event in the Indian Ocean. This resulted in an average loss of 90% live coral cover in 1998 and a further 50% loss in 2016. Our project was a game changer for Seychelles and coastal communities in the region because it provided an opportunity to prove that we can innovate and adapt to climate change.
We have cultivated almost 50,000 coral fragments in underwater nurseries and transplanted 24,431 on about 5,500m2 of degraded reefs. This was the first ever large-scale coral reef restoration project using the coral gardening method in the world. There was no blueprint – we adopted techniques used in experimental settings but also pioneered many things in the field. The project acted as an active and dynamic underwater laboratory where research questions on coral reproduction and growth, animal behaviour and reef resilience could be addressed. We trained over 50 scientists and volunteer scientific divers from around the world who are now carrying out their own restoration projects in their countries. A toolkit has been published and widely shared to cascade the methodologies used and experiences collected around the world. It has been well received by coral restoration practitioners. We launched our Centre for Ocean Restoration Awareness and Learning (CORAL) to serve as a national and regional hub for knowledge-sharing on coral reef conservation and restoration, and to attract cutting-edge scientists to carry out further research on corals.
We also broke ground on a new project that will allow, for the very first time in Seychelles, local people to become stewards of coastal and marine areas to benefit the environment and secure their livelihoods. Through funding received from the German International Climate Initiative (IKI), and in partnership with IUCN, Nature Seychelles seeks to set up the first Locally Managed Marine Area (LMMA) in Seychelles. Although present elsewhere in the region, including in Madagascar, Kenya and Tanzania, and globally in larger countries such as Australia, the LMMA model is new to Seychelles. This four-year project will invest in policy-related activities as well as infrastructure, conservation and restoration actions, training and equipment, public awareness programs, and introduction of sustainable funding mechanisms. The LMMA in Seychelles is currently ongoing but delayed due to the impacts of COVID-19. This is a time in our history when it is even more important to focus on local livelihoods and ecosystem services.
Brazil says it should receive $10 billion a year in foreign aid, including $1 billion for forests, to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, instead of 2060 as currently planned. What about the forest ecosystems of the Congo Basin?
As replacements for outgoing statutory executives, the Extraordinary Council of COMIFAC Ministers have tapped the following as the new statutory executives: Executive Secretary: Mr. Hervé Martial MAIDOU from the Central African Republic; Deputy Executive Secretary-Technical Coordinator: Mr. Chouaibou NCHOUTPOUEN from the Republic of Cameroon; Administrative and Financial Director: Mr. François DAYANG from the Republic of Chad.
The Congo Basin’s forests and peatlands are a major component of Earth’s life-support systems, and it is a key supplier of vital minerals needed to build a low carbon economy. The case for the people of the Congo to benefit from not exploiting these resources is irrefutable.
As part of the ECOFAC 6 capitalization program, and in order to help improve the sharing of information between researchers, policy makers and protected area managers in central Africa, we propose that you answer a questionnaire on the usefulness of research for conservation.
The JRS Biodiversity Foundation is pleased to announce Matthew Cassetta as its new Executive Director. Cassetta brings over two decades of diverse experience in international diplomacy and project management, much of it focused in Africa on capacity-building and development partnerships.
Wildlife: during the month of March, the UICN publicly announced two decisions concerning forest elephants. The first one was declaring the forest elephant (Loxodonta Cyclotis) an altogether different species, as until recently it was merely considered a subspecies. The second decision was declaring this species critically endangered.
The EU is the world’s largest aid donor and a major political actor with a strong influence over global policies. The EU recognises civil society as an essential actor in policy making and implementation, specifically in the development sector.
To read: The German CBFP Facilitation and COMIFAC are preparing for the 2021 Climate and Biodiversity Conferences of the Parties; Report on landmark deforestation events in 2019; The 2021-2025 Operational Plan of COMIFAC Convergence Plan validated...
March 2021 Highlights: Rescued 1 Black-bellied pangolin; Released 1 Black-bellied pangolin back into the wild; Released 19 African grey parrots into the wild; Finished maintenance of Gorilla group 1 night den; Completed phase 1 of the Gorilla re-enrichment project…
Read: Position of European Partners on SIGIF 2 in Cameroon; Only few days left to register for the webinars "The Role of Forest Certification in the EUTR"; ATIBT technical data sheet : quality of plantation species for timber use; "Choosing tropical woods to fight climate change" says Timber Trade Federation...
Read: FLEGT ‘Fitness Check’: Abandoning FLEGT licenses would harm forest governance and the legal timber trade; EU Law on deforestation: Key land rights risk being ignored in DG Environment’s proposal; Could the palm oil arrangement between Indonesia and Switzerland offer lessons for EU and Indonesia free trade agreement negotiations?
The co-facilitators for the negotiated outcome of the 2021 UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development have issued an outline for consideration. The proposed structure includes sections on: the impact of COVID-19 on the 2030 Agenda; progress towards the SDGs under review in 2021; and accelerated actions to achieve the SDGs.
The International Renewable Energy (IRENA) has published a preview of its publication, ‘World Energy Transitions Outlook.’ The report reviews technology choices, investment needs, and socio-economic contexts necessary to set the world on a trajectory towards a sustainable, resilient and inclusive energy future.
From 9 to 13 March the COMIFAC Working Group meetings of the Central African Climate and Biodiversity Negotiators took place in Douala, Cameroon. These two meetings were held at the same time and place, with financial support provided by the German cooperation.
This publication adds to ongoing work by the World Bank Group on how to better design and incorporate fiscal policy within the climate and sustainable development policy mix. The publication shows how various fiscal reforms can positively influence forest conservation while freeing up resources that can be used for national development.
Environmental issues affect us all. As is it, the planet is moving towards a global warming of 3°C by 2100. This is not the future we want. Forests, our first carbon sink within submerged land, are however in critical danger, with the possible savannahisation of the Amazon and tropical forests that could eventually turn into proper CO2 emitters. Faced with these projections, that involve unimaginable socio-economic consequences, our absolute priority can be summed up in a single word: reduction. Reducing our carbon footprint. Reducing deforestation. Reducing the degradation of forests. Reducing them increasingly and continuously.
The world is facing unprecedented economic and environmental challenges. While climate change increasingly poses risks to macroeconomic and fiscal stability, deforestation and forest degradation impair the ability of forests to act as carbon sinks and reduce the resiliency of local communities to climate damages. The loss and decay of forests also threaten global biodiversity, the provision of ecosystem services, and other core ecological functions that economies worldwide rely on.
Fern’s report Beyond commitments: How can Nationally Determined Contributions contribute to forest governance and resilient local communities? looks at progress, challenges, and opportunities in six African countries: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Liberia, and Republic of the Congo.
The undeniable connection between nature, human health, and economic well-being has become more evident than ever during this time of crisis. Resilience is in our nature: IUCN and its Members are working to ensure a nature-based recovery that can deliver sustainable solutions, providing a foundation for a healthier relationship between humanity and the planet.
As indicated on the Fordaq website, Hans Fahrni, CEO of FACO Construction, is pleased with the effects of the log export ban on the timber industry in Gabon, where the majority of the forest area is FSC-certified (the government's goal is to certify all of them within 4 years).
The ATIBT and the Malaysian Timber Council (MTC) have recently held several online meetings to clarify their common issues for the development of a responsible tropical timber sector. These meetings have been preceded in recent years by annual meetings.
REN21’s Renewables in Cities Global Status Report (REC) series provides an overview of the status, trends and developments of renewable energy in cities, using the most up-to-date information and data available. The REC’s neutral, fact-based approach documents in detail the annual developments in policies, markets, investments and citizen action, with a particular focus on renewables in public, residential and commercial buildings as well as public and private urban transport. This report aims to inform decision makers and to create an active exchange of views and information around urban renewable energy.
The crisis provoked by the coronavirus pandemic offers a chance to shift from a fossil-fuel based economy to a nature-based circular bioeconomy, said Britain’s heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles on Friday.
The UK and Norway launched an initiative on sustainable finance that will serve as a platform for British and Norwegian financial institutions to share knowledge and best practices focused on actionable climate solutions in the financial sector and explore the regulatory frameworks and investment decisions that would be necessary to achieve a zero-emissions economy.
The post-2020 global biodiversity framework (GBF) took center stage at the informal meeting in preparation for the third meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI-3), convened by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
UN-Water convened a three-day event to discuss accelerating progress towards water and sanitation for all by 2030, and a report that indicates ambitions for 2030 remain off-track. Participants were briefed on the SDG 6 Global Acceleration Framework, upcoming high-level events on water, and the preparatory process for the 2023 UN conference for the midterm review of the Water Action Decade.
The pandemic has tragically claimed millions of lives and placed countries in complete economic and social lockdown, with the threat of a global recession looming. But the pandemic is not just an immediate human health crisis; it also poses a long-term socio-economic ramifications for people who depend on natural resources such as timber, fisheries and wildlife.
This Sunday, 21 March, is the United Nations International Day of Forests (IDF), intended to celebrate and raise global awareness of the importance of forests. The theme is "Forest restoration: a path to recovery and well-being", a cause that Fern championed in our recent report looking at how rights-based forest restoration can empower communities, recover biodiversity, and tackle the climate crisis. It also explained that forest restoration must never be used to greenwash other sectors' lack of action towards climate objectives.
Elon Musk tweeted earlier this year that he would be "donating $100 million towards a prize for best carbon capture technology”. Out of 600 thousand likes and retweets, twenty thousand corresponded to a brilliant solution: “A tree”. The Tesla boss responded that trees were, indeed, part of the solution, but that we may require something that is “ultra-large-scale industrial in 10 to 20 years”. The sense of acting ‘urgently’ and at ‘scale’ are clearly central to the concepts of innovations announced in his offer.
19. February 2020 | In the past, Germany has been among the more ambitious providers of financial assistance to developing countries’ efforts to adapt to a changing climate and cut or avoid greenhouse gas emissions.
The findings and recommendations in this Toolkit were identified based on a meta-review of program evaluations and scholarly research in French and English, supplemented by a series of key informant interviews with program implementers. The Toolkit was validated through review by an Advisory Council of external civil society practitioners and researchers as well as practitioners from Search for Common Ground’s field offices across the Sudano-Sahel (Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, Nigeria, Niger, South Sudan, Sudan).
Following is UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message for the International Day of Forests, observed on 21 March: Humanity’s well-being is inextricably linked to the health of our planet. Forests play a crucial role.