Wed, 13th December 2017 | Updated Thursday 27 July 2017, 09:18:58
The Seychelles consist of over 100 islands of granitic and corraline origin with a total land area of 455 km2 and a coastal length of 151 km. Coral reefs surround the granitic islands. Coral islands are rich in marine lif, and due to their size and homegeneity are considered part of the coastal zone. Tourism and fishing are the main industries, with light manufacturing and service sectors also contributing to the economy. Tourism employs 40% of the workforce and provides the population with 60% of foreign currencies. The country's tourism industry and socio-economic development mainly depends on its environment, more specifically its unique biodiversity and its high landscape value. The needs to extend Protected Areas and to strengthen the Protected Areas Systems are stressed in the 2013 PA Policy. This new project has been developed to strengthen the Seychelles Protected Area (PA) system, especially as the country is in the process of exploring the potential for expansion of the protected areas system through the Marine Spatial Planning exercise, in line with the 2013 PA Policy.
Seychelles is highly dependent on imported oil to meet its energy needs: 90% of the primary energy supply comes from imported fuel, with imports of fuel for electricity generation alone accounting for 12% of the total Government budget. This heavy reliance on imported fossil fuels places a heavy pressure on the country's foreign exchange reserves, exacerbates state budget deficits, and poses major energy security concerns, both in terms of access to supplies and pricing. A market for energy-efficient appliances is just beginning to develop in the Seychelles, based in large part on the rapidly rising cost of electricity for most consumers. However, this market is constrained in many ways, including: a lack of consumer awareness about EE appliances; extremely limited purchase options for EE appliances (apart from energy saving lights); the inability of consumers to get bank loans or store financing for the purchase of high-value EE appliances (such as air conditioning units, refrigerators/freezers, and washing machines); and the absence of any standards or labelling schemes or requirements for EE appliances in the country.
Seychelles' existing protected area system is primarily situated in the Inner (Granitic) Islands of the country. The Outer Islands of the Seychelles make up more than half of the total number of islands within the archipelago and include nine of the twenty Important Bird Areas (IBAs) of Seychelles, but at present there are only two fully gazetted protected areas in the Outer Islands: (i) Aldabra Special Reserve (15,260 ha terrestrial and 23,100 ha marine) and (ii) the African Banks Protected Area (2 ha terrestrial and 3 ha marine), as well as two declared Nature Reserves (Boudeuse and Etoile, each less than 1 ha.).
The climate change projections in the Seychelles show that rainfall, while increasing in overall terms, will become even more irregular. Much of the precipitation is falling in sharp bursts, creating heavy flooding in the wet season, while imposing an extended period of drought during the dry season. As island topography puts constraints on water storage capacity, the country's water supplies are heavily dependent on rainfall. Furthermore, the coastal zone is vulnerable to flooding as a consequence of rising sea levels and increased storm surges from cyclonic activity in the Western Indian Ocean.