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The Challenge of Sustainable land Use in Seychelles. Didier Dogley, Director General Ministry of Environment & Natural Resources Department of Environment 2005 . Contents. Problem Scenario Approaches to solve the problem Other measures and tools Results/ Impacts

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The Challenge of Sustainable land Use in Seychelles

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The challenge of sustainable land use in seychelles l.jpg

The Challenge of Sustainable land Use in Seychelles

Didier Dogley,

Director General

Ministry of Environment & Natural ResourcesDepartment of Environment

2005


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Contents

  • Problem Scenario

  • Approaches to solve the problem

    • Other measures and tools

  • Results/ Impacts

  • Strengths and shortcomings of the process

  • Conclusion


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Problem Scenario

  • Seychelles islands are granitic or sand cays. Main Granitic island are characterized by a narrow coastal strip and a central massive with steep slopes

  • Most economic and other form of Development located on these narrow coastal strips

  • 90% of the 80 000 population live on Mahé and about 40% of which live on a belt of 7km by 3 km

  • Population density of greater Victoria is 450 persons/km²

  • Overall the current national population density is 178 persons/km²

  • Land is subject to severe competition amongst potential conflicting uses

  • The Division responsible for physical planning is increasingly under strain brought about by increased economic activities and development


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This has lead to the following detrimental actions

  • Difficulty to enforce regulations due to lack of manpower and resources

  • Indiscriminate and uncontrolled lighting of fire and felling of trees to clear land for development

  • Construction on sensitive or in high risk areas including hillsides, sand dunes and beaches

  • Filling of wetlands and marshes

  • Application of agricultural practices which are detrimental to soil conservation

  • Resulted in increased forest fires, coastal and hillside erosion, land degradation, including conflicts between various development sectors


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Approaches to solve the problem

  • Legislations and Regulations:

    - More than 100 pieces of legislation and regulations

    - Enforcement of existing laws and regulation - vital to success

  • Town and Country Planning Act, 1972(currently being reviewed)

  • Environment Protection Act, 1994- Environment Impact Assessment Class1 and Class 2 for different types of development and approval from DoE.

  • Breadfruit and other Trees (Protection) Act, 1917 (currently being reviewed) require authorization from DOE for lopping and felling of trees.

  • Stateland and Rivers Reserves Act, 1991

  • National Park and Nature Conservancy Act, 1992

  • Lighting of Fire Act- requires authorization from DoE for burning purposes


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Other measures and Tools

  • Plans and Strategies

  • 5 years National Development Plans

  • The National Land Use Plan (PAT)

  • Environment Management Plans of Seychelles 1990-2000 and 2000-2010

  • Various projects have been set up to improve both planning processes and management in Coastal Zones

  • 500 hectares of land has been reclaimed from the sea during the last 25 years.


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  • Maps of Sensitive zones- applies to both environmentally sensitive zones and areas prone to risks.

  • Territorial Management Plan of Seychelles (reviewed)- limit development to certain specific areas e.g. no construction in areas above 400m altitude.

  • Redirecting economic activities and growth in underdeveloped areas

  • Centralise System of Geographical Information System- use of aerial photos and arc view computer programme in planning processes.

  • Sustained Awareness and Education Campaign by the DoE- using various forms of media.

  • Disaster Coordination Secretariat and Contingency Plans- clear division of labour and responsibilities

  • Promote the use of quarry construction materials- reduce the use of beach sand.


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Results/ Impacts

  • Significantly reduced the number of forest fires and related negative impact on environment.

  • A marked reduction in construction in sensitive areas and high risk areas.

  • Less damages to infrastructure and property by natural disasters such as land slides, tree fall and storms.

  • More high class tourism development redirected to underdeveloped areas including outer coral islands.

  • An increase in participation and advocacy by civil society in reaforestation and environmental protection initiatives.

  • Application of best practices in the farming sector.


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Strengths and shortcomings of the Process

  • Strengths:

  • Seychelles has a distinguished history for its environmental protection efforts

  • Policies and strategies are already in place although they may require to be reviewed from time to time.

  • Infrastructure and related institutions exists and are man by adequately trained personnel

  • Policy makers and local population understand and are aware of the need for proper physical planning and the fragility and vulnerability of both the island state ecosystems and the economy.

  • Sufficient funds are available to implement the core activities of the agencies responsible for physical planning and land Use


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Weaknesses

  • Scarcity of land still remains a major challenge especially for construction of social housing.

  • Limited number of human resources

  • Requires high input of human, technological and monetary resources

  • Laws still fragmented and needs to be harmonise.

  • National Territorial Plan needs to be reviewed

  • Planning application process still too cumbersome and needs streamlining.


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Sustainability

  • Present Physical planning system is to a certain extent sustainable

  • It relies mostly on input from annual government budget allocations and fees paid by developers.

  • However enforcement of legislation will continue to require political will and support.

  • More qualified manpower will be required during economic boom periods

  • Donor financial support will be required to improve use of upgraded versions of new technologies e.g. GIS and the harmonization of existing legislations.


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The end


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