UniSey hosts coastal adaptation and management short course |24 September 2021
Twenty-eight participants from key environmental and infrastructure government agencies and the private sector yesterday embarked on a six-day coastal adaptation and management short course, funded by the World Bank.
Hosted at the University of Seychelles’ Anse Royale campus, the course will be presented as six modules spread over the course of three weeks – every Thursdays and Fridays – until October 8.
The brief launch of the workshop was attended by principal secretary for infrastructure, Yves Choppy.
The short course aims to help build coastal resilience through building capacity in areas of coastal environment and infrastructure as well as to enhance networking and coordination between individuals and agencies involved in different aspects of coastal management and engineering.
The course aligns with the first Seychelles’ Coastal Management Plan, an integrated approach developed by consultants from the World Bank and the Seychelles department of energy and climate change to address the hazards affecting Seychelles’ coastal zones. The Coastal Management Plan was approved by the cabinet of ministers and formally launched in 2019.
“The course came about because the World Bank has been supporting Seychelles for a quite number of years with its programme for disaster risk management. Since the coast is so vulnerable to sea-level rise, flooding and waves, this is one area where the World Bank has been providing technical assistance and it helped the government design a coastal management plan for Seychelles,” explained Dr Michèle Martin, World Bank consultant for climate change capacity building.
Although the plan was gearing to go, a capacity assessment to identify the technical abilities in government agencies to implement the coastal management plan, undertaken by Dr Martin for the World Bank, found that various agencies were lacking in that aspect.
Dr Martin noted that the ongoing training would help resolve this issue and ensure that everyone concerned, from environmentalist to engineers to field technicians to manage and consultants, equipped with the necessary tools and techniques relating to coastal management.
During the three weeks, the participants will familiarise themselves with the Coastal Management Plan and how to use to guide coastal protection; upgrade their knowledge of coastal data and data management systems; enhance their understanding of hard engineering and nature-based solutions to protect the coast from erosion and flooding and deepen understanding of costal adaptation and management to a viable Blue Economy.
The modules are being facilitated by a total of six experts and lecturers, a mix of on-site and international lecturers via digital platforms.
“By the end of the course, we hope that the participants will have a better understating of the science behind coastal management and the connection between nature-based solutions and hard engineering solutions. It will be an introductory understating for a lot of them but I hope that someone in this room gets inspired from this to pursue a Masters in Coastal engineering or management, or a PhD. That spark of interest could be one of the great long-term outcomes,” stated Dr Martin.
Dr Martin added that another favourable outcome of the short course would be better communications and networking between officials and technicians from different government departments.
The courses are being pre-recorded and could be used for future reference, potentially by the University of Seychelles within its environment undergraduate and post-graduate environment courses.