Monday, March 30, 2009

Mauritius: Preservation of Coastal Zone to Promote Sustainable Development

Mar 23, 2009

Mauritius has no choice other than to strive towards maintaining the quality of our coastal zone and its ecological integrity, the Minister of Environment and National Development Unit (NDU), Mr Lormus Bundhoo, said this morning at La Cannelle, Domaines Les Pailles.

In his address at the opening of a national Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) training course, the Minister recalled that as a Small Island Developing State, Mauritius is most exposed to the threat of Climate Change and associated Sea Level Rise. On this score, our country is condemned to adapt to climate change whilst undertaking sustainable development, he said.

Mr Bundhoo stated that his Ministry is developing an ICZM framework and whose application is to control pollution and promote sustainable development in the coastal zone of Mauritius. ICZM is a process which attempts to consolidate the various policies, regulatory and other measures which affect the coastal zone. It enables relevant stakeholders to inform, support and implement sound coastal management measures. ICZM seeks to protect and maintain the integrity and proper functioning of the ecosystem whilst improving the economic and social well-being of coastal inhabitants.

“Unless we carefully plan and manage, we may cause irreversible damages and thereby jeopardize the growth of important and dependent socio economic pillars such as the tourism industry, the fisheries sector, the sea food hub amongst others”, the Minister cautioned.

According to recent studies carried out under the aegis of United Nations Environment Programme, the value for ecosystems goods and services provided by the natural environment for the eastern Africa and the western Indian Ocean regions amounts to 26 billion USD per year with tourism and fisheries as the key income generators. In the case of Mauritius, the value of its coastal resources is estimated at Rs. 1 trillion.

The Training Course, organized by the Ministry of Environment and NDU in collaboration with IOC/EU Regional Programme for the Sustainable Management of the Coastal Zone of the Indian Ocean Countries, aims at building capacity in the areas of policy development, planning and tools for effective monitoring.

Source: Government Information Service, Prime Minister’s Office