Seychelles has received $785,000 (SCR10 million) from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to set up a framework for circular economy projects targeting women and the youth, a top official said on Friday.
The statement was made by the Minister for Fisheries and the Blue Economy, Jean-Francois Ferrari, who said that the funding will help Seychelles define and properly cater to activities in the circular economy.  
The circular economy is a new way of looking at doing business that takes into account production and consumption, which involves sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials and products as long as possible.
The minister explained that “the circular economy is basically bringing every bit of the economy together and that waste is taken care of.”
“It’s a new concept and the whole world is talking about how to reduce waste and make sure that we close the loop of the industry when we are investing and developing different sectors,” said Ferrari.
This is a new model that the world is looking to adopt to tackle global challenges such as climate change, biodiversity loss, waste, and pollution.
Ferrari explained that for Seychelles, “this involves evaluating the fishing industry, the tourism industry and how we can lock in all the parts that might be problematic and might cause damage to the environment.”
The Blue Economy Department is leading the project along with the Department of Environment as well as other agencies such as the Land Waste Management Agency.
“We often find that when good use is not made of the main economic products, they tend to end at the Blue Economy as they end up in the sea and we are ones who have to worry about such things,” said Ferrari.
The department will be looking for consultants to kick start the circular economy concept as it does not know all the possibilities but has some ideas.
The funding received from UNDP will also pay the consultants as well as the training and education on the necessity to do such activities and information sharing.
“Our commitment to the UNDP is to enlist women and the youth in developing small businesses that will pick up the loose ends and that we keep this country fresh, clean and economically sustainable,” added the minister.”
He said this is due to the fact that this demographic is more available to carry out small projects and do so on a part-time basis to support their daily lives.
“The project will be held over two years and we are already thinking about what will happen after those two years, how do we translate the information that we have gathered into real concrete businesses that are viable and that are sustainable for our country and for the world,” said Ferrari.
Some ideas for circular economies are in fisheries where the fish nets are left all over the place and this provides an opportunity for people to retrieve the nets, clean them and export them to companies overseas that re-use them.
“Someone may decide to take the fishnets and make 400,000 bracelets, sell them to tourists and this will be an opportunity to help us clean up our oceans,” he said.
Ferrari stressed that the project is not to push small non-governmental projects but rather business projects that in the future can be self-sustainable and that can bring wealth to the project developers and the country.
The Blue Economy department is hoping that through this approach it will see this kind of economy take its rightful place.
Ferrari said that at the end of the project, “we would like to have some seed capital to help kick-start projects.” 

Source: Seychelles News Agency