President Ramkalawan meets SIF board of trustees ahead of AGM |28 March 2023
President Wavel Ramkalawan met with the Seychelles Island Foundation (SIF) board of trustees yesterday at State House.
The aim of the meeting was for the board, on the local side, to brief the President, as the patron of the foundation, on what are to be discussed at the board’s annual general meeting which will be held between April 4-10 on Aldabra.
The board is made up of local and foreign members, who were not present.
Speaking to the press after the meeting, the chairman of the board, Hon. Bernard Georges, said that they wanted to seek the President’s support on a number of strategic priorities and project initiatives to be undertaken by SIF.
One big project discussed with the President was the eradication of cats and rats which present a danger to the atoll’s eco-system.
Hon. Gorges said the eradication of the two threatening species, considered a national project, will alone cost €25 million.
It is to be noted that in the past SIF managed to completely eradicate feral goats that were a menace to the atoll’s biodiversity.
Another interesting project put before the attention of President Ramkalawan is the Aldabra House, an interactive and cutting-edge technology visitor centre that will offer local and foreign visitors the chance to experience ‘A day in the life of Aldabra’.
The project, which was initiated in early 2019, was cancelled in July the same year because the land allocated to it laid within an area that was undergoing extremely dense infrastructure development.
“This project was initiated by the previous board and for one reason or another it was not materialised and we have given our commitment to realising this project,” said Hon. Georges, who noted that the house will offer a unique experience to those who will never get the chance to visit Aldabra.
The proposed amendment to the SIF decree and to make it into an SIF law to cover all the aspects of the work of the foundation was another initiative discussed with President Ramkalawan.
Hon. Georges said that the changes in the law will include the objective of the foundation, the function of the board, the appointment of the chief executive officer and resignation and the financial section among some other changes that were lacking in the previous SIF decree.
“We want to update it and turn it into a modern law so that anybody reading the law, including the members of SIF themselves, will now have a road map of how things should be done,” Hon. Georges said.
Other matters discussed with the patron includes preparations to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Vallée de Mai as a World Heritage site in December and what is going on and being done at Fond Ferdinand.
“We’ve had a fruitful and fantastic meeting with the President, he is very interested and he has offered us his full support,” Hon. Georges said.
Hon. Georges explained that given that the last annual general meeting was held at the Vallée de Mai on Praslin last year where some members of the board, which include foreign scientists, got their firsthand experience of the World Heritage site and that of Fond Ferdinand, the meeting on Aldabra is also to allow those members who haven’t had the chance to visit the atoll to get the experience so that they could contribute towards informed decision-making with regard to its conservation.
The SIF is a non-profit charitable organisation that was established as a public trust by government in 1979 to manage and protect the Unesco World Heritage sites of Aldabra Atoll and the Vallée de Mai as well as the Fond Ferdinand reserve. Vallée de Mai and Fond Ferdinand reserve are located on Praslin.
Other local members at the meeting were Marie-May Jeremie, Guy Esparon, Bernard Jackson, Colonel Jean Attala, Sheriffa Morel, Romano Laurence, Isabelle Ravinia and Dr Frauke Fleischer-Dogley.