World Wetlands Day 2023 |04 February 2023
Wetlands restoration takes centre stage
By Vidya Gappy
Wetlands restoration was at the forefront of a half-day activity organised yesterday by the Ministry of Agriculture, Climate Change and Environment (MACCE) in collaboration with Constance Ephelia Resort Seychelles to commemorate World Wetlands Day.
Another major event of the day was the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the Port Launay-Port Glaud Mangroves Management Plan between the MACCE, the Constance Ephelia Resort Seychelles, and the newly established NGO – the L Foundation Seychelles – which is a testimony of the government-private partnership in the management of wetlands ecosystems.
In the absence of Minister Flavien Joubert, the director general Justin Prosper delivered his message.
According to the minister, wetlands face enormous threats from the climate change effects and human pressures, which have seen the disappearance of 35% of wetlands globally over the last 40 years and this is a great concern for humanity as millions depend on these ecosystems for their livelihoods. Seychelles has not been spared from these natural and man-made calamities.
“Numerous efforts are ongoing today throughout the world for the protection, conservation, and management of wetlands, through restoration activities and Seychelles has been doing its part for many years now. This year’s theme declared by Ramsar is ‘It’s time for Wetlands Restoration’, which goes well with all the national wide efforts for the restoration of degraded wetlands in the country and the government salutes the commitment of the private sector and NGOs for their valuable contributions in restoration activities. The restoration activities will not be a success without a change in the behaviour of people, and the way they perceive wetlands. People need to be part of the solution rather than the problem of wetlands, a plea made by the secretary general of Ramsar Convention in her message for this year’s World Wetlands Day,” shared the minister in his message.
The general manager of Constance Ephelia Resort, Stephane Duchenne, spoke about how the Port Launay Mangrove Wetland is one of the best examples of a mangrove wetland on Mahé as all seven species of mangrove trees are found in the region covering 124 hectares.
“For that reason the wetland was designated as Seychelles’ first Ramsar Site in 2004. Since the opening of Constance Ephelia in 2010 we implemented several environmental projects within and around the hotel following our Mangrove Management Plan. In line with this management plan we established a mangrove nursery and a monitoring system for a scientific approach of mangrove propagation and rehabilitation,” shared Mr Duchenne.
The GM of the hotel also added that their emphasis is also on awareness and education by welcoming students to participate in planting or clean-up activities and to learn about best management practices of the mangrove wetlands and sustainable tourism.
“The natural beauty of Seychelles is a real capital and being Seychelles Sustainable Tourism Label since 2012 and Green Globe certified since 2014 we at Constance Ephelia are committed to the environment to ensure a sustainable future for our planet,” concluded Mr Duchenne.
With the MoU, the main activities to be undertaken by L Foundation Seychelles would be to initiate, coordinate and participate in regulate clean-up works in the mangrove area within the Ramsar site boundary, including the Constance Ephelia Resort Seychelles. They will also monitor the activities in the mangrove area in the vicinity of the Port Glaud and Port Launay communities, organise and participate in recreational activities in the mangrove area with other partner; initiate, organise, fund and participate in sensitisation/awareness activities with other partners.
The younger generation is fully onboard with the programme and the Anse Boileau secondary students and primary pupils presented a poem and a song about the wetland.
The event ended on a high note with the mangrove tree planting whereby all got their hands and feet muddy.
The preservation of wetlands is of great importance and we all have to educate and activate others to get involved in wetland restoration.
The accompanying photos by our photographer Joena Meme show some highlights of the activity yesterday.