Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Eyes Wide Shut - how effective are EIAs?

Plan for Police Bay development available on the internet

The public scoping for the proposed Police Bay hotel development (see my previous blog) has brought EIAs into the public eye with a bang. In fact, this area is listed in the law as an Ecologically Sensitive Area and therefore one that needs an EIA for any project undertaken there. The public meeting at Takamaka was arranged by the developers and therefore it was a response required by law.

Every once in a while an advert appears in the Seychelles Nation stating that an Environmental Impact Assessment for some proposed hotel or other development is available for public inspection. Environmental Impact Assessments or EIAs are necessary for many types of development under Seychelles law. The Environment Protection Act and the Environment Protection (Impact Assessment) Regulations, S.I.39 of 1996 defines the types of development requiring EIAS as well as the procedures necessary. EIAs have been undertaken under this law since 1996, the first one for a hotel development on Praslin which I undertook. EIAs are conducted by consultants hired by the developer.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

A Take Away From Takamaka

Proposed resort development at Police Bay
The world is changing. And so is Seychelles. Things that we took for granted a few years ago are now being challenged. It's probably ironic but not unexpected that with government sanctioned "people-centred development", fuelled by a liberalising economy, taking centre stage in our country, we hear voices clamouring to be heard. 

This is the single most important message I took away from the Police Bay tourism development public scoping meeting held at Takamaka last Saturday. People wanted to be heard, and more than that, they wanted their needs and wants to be acted on by authorities. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Everyone a farmer?

Nature Seychelles' book 
The Seychelles is burdened with meetings – scores of them every month with the majority being quite forgetable and having little impact. However, I was at a not-so-ordinary workshop recently which despite not attracting enough publicity will, in my opinion, turn out to be a game changer. This was the national food and nutrition security workshop organized by the Ministry of Natural Resources.

I was taken by the notion of trying to rebrand agriculture as the food AND nutrition security sector. By doing so it is possible to shift our thinking and find new and innovative solutions for agriculture in Seychelles, which by all accounts is in the doldrums

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Where are the Green Buildings in Seychelles?

Nature Seychelles' Zero Energy Net (ZEN) bulding.
I know and accept that we live in a small island republic, distant from markets and knowledge centres, but I’m still haunted by the notion that the world is passing us by. One of the world trends, if I can call it that because it started in the 1970’s, that hasn’t taken off in Seychelles is the concept of Green Buildings or Green Design.

Green buildings have been developed in response to the energy crisis and growing concerns about the environment. One would have thought the urgent need in Seychelles to save energy and reduce environmental problems should have encouraged a wave of green buildings. But even new infrastructure with ample investment such as Eden Island don’t have solar energy, rain water harvesting, etc.