During his second visit to Seychelles, H.E. Mr Vincent Degert, Ambassador of the European Union to the Republic of Seychelles launched, with Mr Wallace Cosgrow, Minister of Environment, Energy and Climate Change, the shoreline management plan prepared by UNDP in the framework of the climate adaptation project in La Digue. He also co-hosted a reception on board ITS Antonio Marceglia with Rear Admiral Armando Paolo Simi, Force Commander of EU NAVFOR Somalia to celebrate the participation of EU NAVFOR Somalia in the Cutlass Express 19.2 exercise. This second visit was the opportunity for the EU Ambassador to reiterate the EU strong commitment to continue to work closely with the Government of Seychelles in the areas of maritime security and climate change.
During the reception on board the EU NAVFOR flagship, H.E. Mr Vincent Degert, Ambassador of the European Union to the Republic of Seychelles said:
” The European Union has over the years developed an “Integrated Approach” through its foreign policy and instruments to contribute to the security and the development in this region. This is not one in isolation but in a coordinated way and in close cooperation with all of our partners to achieve the best possible results. This is the European way of addressing world challenges. This is also the reason why the EUNAVFOR together with Eastern and Southern African nations and the Combined Maritime Force (CMF) have successfully participated in the Cutlass Express edition 19.2 sponsored by our colleagues and friends from the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM). This clearly demonstrates our solid partnership, our efficient inter-operability and our joint commitment to peace and stability in this part of the world.”
The day before the reception, while on La Digue for the launch of the shoreline management plan, the EU Ambassador stated:
- “The shore line management plan will provide the local communities and decision-makers with an appropriate tool for medium to long term planning along the coast. It will help to reduce future coastal risks for communities while at the same time encouraging sustainable coastal economic development. With this project, our aim is to ensure that you are relieved from the frequent floods that you face. And I am pleased to inform you that works related to the construction of drains and other flood-evacuating infrastructure will start before the end of the year and will be completed by June next year. With this project, farmers whose cultivations were flooded before will now be relieved!”
1) Reception to celebrate the participation of EU NAVFOR Somalia in the Cutlass Express 19.2 exercise, 16 November 2019:
The EU Ambassador co-hosted a reception on board ITS Antonio Marceglia with Rear Admiral Armando Paolo Simi, Force Commander of EU NAVFOR Somalia Operation Atalanta. The reception, which gathered 70 guests including high officials of the Republic of Seychelles, and the crew of the flagship, was organised to mark the successful participation of EU NAVFOR in the Cutlass Express 19.2 exercise, a regional maritime security exercise sponsored by the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM).
The participation of EU NAVFOR in the exercise was undertaken by the flagship ITS Antonio Marceglia and two officers who have been deployed in the Regional Coordination Operations Centre (RCOC) and the Seychelles Coast Guards Maritime Operation Centre.
From 12 to 14 November, EU NAVFOR carried out training in different types of exercise including drugs smuggling, Search and rescue, Illegal fishing, piracy and fire-fighting. During the same timeframe, the RCOC led in search and rescue (SAR) exercises and participated in the maritime interdiction operations exercise. This important exercise served to assess and improve the ability of Seychelles and other participating countries to combat illicit trafficking, piracy, illegal fishing, as well as conduct search and rescue operations. During CE19.2 exercise, the IORIS platform developed under the EU CRIMARIO programme, was used as the primary communications tool between participants.
2) Launch of the shoreline management plan as part of the climate adaptation project in La Digue:
The day before, the EU Ambassador launched the shoreline management plan in La Digue with Mr Wallace Cosgrow, Minister of Environment, Energy and Climate Change and Mr Roland Alcindor, representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The event took place in the presence of several representatives from the local community of La Digue.
The shoreline management plan is a key document which will provide local communities and decision-makers with an appropriate tool for medium to long term planning along the coast. It will help to reduce future coastal risks for communities in La Digue while at the same time encouraging sustainable coastal economic development.
This management plan has been prepared under the Global Climate Change Alliance + project, which is funded by the EU and implemented by UNDP, to help better protect communities from increasing coastal erosion and floods on La Digue.
Maritime security: The European Union comprehensive action in the region
Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP):
The EU launched Operation ATALANTA off the coast of Somalia in December 2008. The first ever European Union Naval Force has greatly contributed to maritime security in the region, and continues to work closely with international partners and national maritime agencies to develop stronger capabilities. EU NAVFOR Operation Atalanta has conducted several trainings in Seychelles, and continues to work closely with Seychelles maritime agencies to promote maritime security.
The EU has extended the operation's mandate until December 2020.
MaSe and CRIMARIO programmes:
The EU supports the operations of the Regional Centre for Operational Coordination (RCOC) based in Seychelles and the Regional Maritime Information Fusion Centre (RMIFC) in Madagascar with equipment and training. The EU also contributes to joint missions to combat maritime crimes undertaken under the aegis of the RCOC under the MaSe programme.
Seychelles benefits from EU support under the Critical Maritime Routes Programme (CRIMARIO) on the security and safety of essential maritime routes. CRIMARIO has provided capacity building to Seychelles in maritime surveillance, and developed an on-line platform for information sharing called IORIS which will allow Seychelles and countries in the region to share maritime information. The IORIS platform was used as the primary communications tool between participants during CE19.2 exercise.
New programme for port security:
The EU is funding a new programme (28 million euros – 458 million Seychelles Rupees) to enhance Maritime Port Security for the region. It will reinforce the capacities of port authorities and improve port infrastructures in line with international regulations on maritime governance in order. The programme will support Seychelles and countries in the region to improve maritime safety and security in the region including in tracking illicit trade, drug trafficking and smuggling of weapons.
The EU – Seychelles partnership in the area of Climate change
The EU supports Seychelles with an envelope of €3 million through the Global Climate Change Alliance+ which helps countries and communities most vulnerable to climate change, especially in small island developing states (SIDS). The project has two main components:
1. Assist the Government of Seychelles in addressing flooding problems occurring on La Digue. This component is implemented by UNDP. The project has been formulated after consultations with the local communities to ensure that the activities address their concerns. Surveys have already been undertaken to test the salinity of the groundwater (which adversely impacts on the local crops) due to infiltration during high tides. A series of drains will also be constructed to evacuate flood water. Another important activity concerns the prevention of soil erosion caused by high tidal waves. The shoreline management plan, which has just been launched, is part of this component.
2. Reinforce the capacity of the Ministry of Environment to better integrate climate change into policies. A team of experts is currently assisting Government in the preparation of the firstever climate change policy. The project has also assisted Government in ensuring that climate change is duly taken into considerations in the new National Development Strategy 2019 – 2021 adopted in August 2019 in alignment with the country's Vision 2032 document.