Daily Archives: November 23, 2021

Education for sustainable development in the Seychelles

By Student Delegate Leslie Terrones

Education is one of the main pillars that serve as the basis of every society. Its importance has been acknowledged worldwide, being considered as one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. The SDG 4 focuses on ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all. Considering this, it is in the hands of the governments to assure the provision of such service, making sure every citizen in their territory has access to it.

Even if the situation is way better than it used to be decades ago, people still face many barriers to accessing education such as lack of funding, having no teacher -or an untrained one-, long distances to school, lack of learning material or even having been born the wrong gender, etc. This is even worse in developing countries where around 59 million children do not have access to education as a basic need.  One of the consequences of not having access to education is -amongst others- the emergence of social problems, as the people who can’t afford it or don’t receive the proper information do not have the right tools to analyze the pros and cons of the activities that are being developed in their territories and might not understand their impacts.

Despite that, many Ministries of Education in Small states have started to incorporate the Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) approach into their education reform initiatives and efforts. Also, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has helped many Small Island Developing States (SIDS) implement the Global Action Programme (GAP) on ESD in their school action plans, especially focusing on Climate Change Education and its inclusion in policies, plans, and programs.

According to a report published by UNESCO, due to the vulnerability SIDS face due to climate change, education plays a key role. Strengthening the adaptive capacity of these nations through risk assessment, education of girls and women, educational programs that explicitly prepare communities for natural disasters and education systems and infrastructure will equip them with the right tools to improve their adaptation capacity.

The Seychelles has set an example in implementing environmental education policies and programs amongst SIDS. Since 1994, when the Wildlife Clubs of Seychelles was created, the country has worked on ways to provide knowledge to its citizens regarding marine and terrestrial biodiversity and conservation opportunities and capacities. The Save Our Seas Foundation has also helped fund several marine education and awareness projects.

The Seychelles Conservation and Climate Adaptation Trust (SeyCCAT) has also been working on some projects regarding the ESD. At the time, they’re implementing programs related to marine conservation and ocean pollution, which aim not only to enforce the knowledge of the marine environment amidst their population but to also raise awareness of the effects of waste disposal into the waters that surround the island.


A Call for Increased Blue Carbon Financing

By Student Delegate Heidi Johnson

Blue carbon financing is an essential step in the path toward a net-zero future. Climate finance aims to support mitigation and adaptation measures that address adverse climate change effects. This financing draws from public and private sources at the local, national, and transnational levels. Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC or the Convention) rely on these large-scale investments to mitigate climate change (by reducing emissions) and adapt to climate change (by developing climate-resilient pathways).

Parties’ capacity to finance innovative climate change mitigation and adaptation technologies vary. Hence, the Convention, the Kyoto Protocol, and the Paris Agreement call on developed country Parties with more significant financial resources to financially assist vulnerable developing country Parties with fewer resources. These agreements also provide that developed country Parties should lead climate finance mobilizing through varying sources. By doing so, Parties recognize their “common but differentiated responsibilities” and collaboratively implement UNFCCC objectives.

To facilitate climate financing, the Convention established a financial mechanism for providing resources to developing country Parties. The Paris Agreement further emphasizes the need to achieve financing goals, encouraging other Parties to make voluntary contributions. It also provides for a global stocktake to assess progress in support mobilization. Under the Paris Agreement, financial support should be transparent and predictable.

In addition, private and public financers have the economic resources to support blue carbon management and protection measures. For instance, these financers can provide funding or invest in sustainable business models. By doing so, financers would enable climate action in a way that mitigates climate risks and captures opportunities. Resulting climate action can be innovative and advantageous to the financers and to developing country Parties.

Recently, more than half of the Parties to the Convention recognized the inherent ocean-climate nexus in their NDCs. For instance, 57 percent of Parties observed the importance of protecting blue carbon, and 47 percent of Parties noted the need to enhance ecosystem-based adaptation. One such Party was the Seychelles. In its NDC, Seychelles notes that it is exceedingly vulnerable to climate change effects and risks as a Small Island Developing State. Consequently, Seychelles’ NDC dedicates a chapter to ocean climate action and blue carbon nature-based solutions. In that chapter, Seychelles commits “to protect at least 50% of its seagrass and mangrove ecosystems by 2025 and 100% by 2030, with external support.”

Seychelles’ NDC further specifies key contributions it will make to fulfill this commitment. For instance, Seychelles intends to locally and nationally regulate coastal planning and infrastructure to prioritize nature-based solutions. Seychelles also plans to establish a blue carbon monitoring program and implement its Marine Spatial Plan to manage its marine protected areas. If successful, these contributions can aid Seychelles in attaining net-zero by 2050 through natural climate solutions. But the caveat in Seychelles’ commitment (“with external support”) denotes its need for climate financing.

The Seychelles Conservation and Climate Adaptation Trust (SeyCCAT) highlights that Seychelles will need to fill knowledge gaps relating to blue carbon ecosystems to achieve these goals. Filling these gaps to outline potential opportunities will require blue carbon financing mechanisms. As such, SeyCCAT is currently exploring blue carbon financing opportunities that will support long-term blue carbon ecosystem monitoring plans.

Pursuant to the Convention, developed country Parties should provide financial resources to developing country Parties seeking to achieve their blue carbon commitments. This support should remain transparent and predictable so that these parties can make consistent progress. Parties failing to provide these resources should be held accountable for the lack of progress during the upcoming global stocktake. Additionally, private financers should take advantage of the opportunity to fund and invest in innovative blue carbon markets. Private and public financers should lead the way to a net-zero future by financing blue carbon.