Young people in Seychelles encouraged to dive into GEF’s Ridge to Reef Project
Young people in Seychelles are being encouraged to take a deeper interest in the island’s environment, ecosystems and biodiversity.
The younger generation is being asked not only to participate in environment-related activities but to also conduct research, write and seek funding for environment-related projects and consider careers in the field.In a recent activity, these concerns were discussed with a group of young people, who had the opportunity to learn more about the ‘Ridge to Reef Project’ and discuss ways to increase their involvement and interest in the project.
The ‘Ridge to Reef Project’ is a Global Environment Facility (GEF) funded project implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture, Climate Change and Environment that aims at undertaking a comprehensive Ridge to Reef (R2R) approach that addresses the whole island.
The approach focuses on improving the management and conservation of upland forests and agricultural ecosystems as well as coastal and marine ecosystems in Seychelles to produce global benefits in terms of the conservation of globally significant biodiversity and to stop and reverse ecosystem degradation.
Wills Agricole, the technical advisor for climate change and energy, said that the ministry is looking at more innovative ways to enhance outreach programmes and educate vulnerable groups, especially the future generation who are the custodians of the islands.
Rajelle Barbe, the communications officer of the Ridge to Reef Project, said in an interview on the Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation TV that past activities, especially at the community level, have shown little participation of young people.
“We want to know why they are not participating; what we need to do more of because it might be the method, we are using is not targeting the youth,” explained Barbe. Barbe added that there are opportunities in the project to work with the younger generation.
The Ridge to Reef project is a first-of-its-kind project in the Seychelles – 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean – which will show an integrated approach to the management of marine, coastal, and terrestrial ecosystems of the island nation, stretching from mountaintop to coastline.
“We, as a large oceanic, small-island developing state, are inherently vulnerable to the impact and risks associated with climate change. This therefore created a high priority for climate adaptation strategies that will improve resilience, “explained Agricole.
The technical adviser said, “This is carried out through the “Ridge to Reef” project, where adaptation strategies and interconnections between terrestrial, coastal, and marine ecosystems are recognised to protect, manage, and restore them.”
Launched in 2020, the $31 million project, from Ridge to Reef, will be implemented over six years. It is co-financed by Seychelles’ government, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and civil society.