Dear SeyCCAT friends,
Today marks exactly one year since I joined SeyCCAT, and I would like to share what we have been up to this past year. SeyCCAT is truly a brilliant organisation. I have taken the time to fully understand where we are, understand the progress yet to be made and also to identify new opportunities to deliver on our strategic objectives and pass the test of time.
SeyCCAT has grown exponentially, and now, there is a full team of 12 staff in the organisation. With increased capacity, our portfolio has grown beyond the flagship Blue Grants Fund and now includes three other grants supporting the Marine Spatial Plan, and the management of CEPF, which is a regional grants programme.
For the first time since our establishment, we organised a successful one-week Strategic Retreat with all our Board members, blue grants committee, partners and friends to discuss the future of SeyCCAT. We received a lot of important feedback and have already started implementing some of the recommendations to improve our operations. Noteworthy from this process was the approval of amendments to the SeyCCAT Act, which entered into force in October 2022, and which has enabled us to make changes to our eligibility criteria, our governance and sustainability approach.
Although I joined the call halfway through, the BGF team successfully completed the sixth funding cycle of the BGF (BGF6), awarding 13 new projects that support Marine Protected Areas and Sustainable Use Zones. We thoroughly reviewed previous funding cycles and improved the way we run the programme, including how we engage and support our grantees.
In July last year, we leveraged an additional US$450,000 from a new donor, the Blue Nature Alliance. It allowed us to launch the largest call for proposals yet, BGF7, opening all five Strategic Objectives and making available over 31 million rupees for grants. We are looking forward to receiving new and diverse applications this year.
Partnerships are crucial for our work. Since May 2022, SeyCCAT actively engaged in national and international fora, attracting new partners and nurturing existing relationships. We worked very closely with the Government to help deliver on national priorities. We provided targeted support to the Marine Spatial Plan through in-house grants and supported other entities such as Seychelles Fishing Authority, Marine Protected Area managers, and smaller NGOs.
The outlook for the remainder of this year is positive, with our team working on new partnerships and developing several new programmes that will bring additional resources to SeyCCAT and the country.
I want to thank all of you for believing in our values and the unique opportunity that SeyCCAT presents for long-term sustainable financing for our ocean.
Marie-May, CEO of SeyCCAT