Mahe, Seychelles, 12 July 2017 – The Cabinet of Seychelles officially endorsed the very first National Water Policy for Seychelles, as well as a national integrated water resources management (IWRM) plan and the drafting of the new Water Bill.
In Seychelles, pressure on water resources is increasing. The main contributing factors are: increasing demand on the country’s water resources from a growing population, improvements in living standards, steady economic growth and shifting rainfall patterns as a result of climate change.
Climate change, in particular, is likely to have a significant impact on water availability in the mid- and long-term. Climate change models predict an increase in extreme rainfall events in the wet season, coupled with extended dry seasons. This will further reduce seasonal rainfall and water availability for storage. It is therefore crucial that the available fresh water resources are effectively managed. The partial dependence by Seychelles on desalination highlights the need for innovative storage solutions, water conservation measures and efficient management of water resources.
IWRM is a process that promotes the coordinated development and cross-sectoral management of water, land and related resources, to maximise economic and social welfare in an equitable manner, without compromising the sustainability of vital ecosystems. Key elements of this approach to water management are the recognition of water as a finite resource with economic value, and the importance of stakeholder participation in the management of water resources. Seychelles has adopted IWRM as an approach to the management of its national water resources and integrated its principles in the two documents endorsed by the Cabinet last week.
The new Policy highlights the link between freshwater, land, biodiversity, the coastal zone and the oceans and the need to integrate their management. At the same time, it contributes towards the country’s international and regional commitments, such as those in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Regional Water Policy, various international environmental conventions, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It recognises the tremendous achievements made to date by the responsible authorities involved in water management in the country, while at the same time paving the way for the reforms that are necessary to meet the water management challenges of the future.
The implementation of the new Water Policy will be done through the 5 year IWRM plan and will start immediately with the drafting of a new Water Bill.
The two documents were developed under the auspices of the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change, with numerous technical inputs and guidance from a wide range of stakeholders representing government, NGOs and CSOs, and the private sector. The process of stakeholder consultations and drafting was coordinated by a team of consultants from the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), led by Daniel Malzbender and Guy Morel. Denis Matatiken from the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change was responsible for overall coordination and technical guidance.
Financial support for the development of this IWRM Plan was provided by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), through the Atlantic & Indian Ocean Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) project, jointly implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and executed by the United Nations Office for Project Support (UNOPS).
Fore more information, contact:
Geraldine Deblon, Communication Officer for the IWRM AIO SIDS Project at GeraldineD@unops.org