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Photos L-R (Matthew Morgan, Krishna Ashok, Matthew Morgan, Matthew Morgan, Jeanne A Mortimer)

Where it all began…

In  2015,  the  international  community  signed  the  Paris Agreement  and  in  less  than  a  year,  the ambitious  Paris  Agreement  entered  into  force.  Central  to  the  Paris  Agreement  is  the  Nationally Determined  Contribution  (NDC).The  NDC is  a  document  used  by  countries  to  communicate  their contribution towards achieving the global temperature goal and the global goal for adaptation. It is mandatory for all countries (regardless of economic categorisation) to submit an NDC every five years with each subsequent one increasing in ambition.  The Seychelles submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) in 2015, which is now its NDC. In early 2021, Seychelles will submit a revised and/or updated NDC.

Within the Seychelles’ NDC, reference is made to the absence of blue carbon habitats in its national greenhouse gases emissions inventory.  The Coastal Wetlands and Climate Change  Project and the Ministry of Agriculture, Climate Change and Environment  provides  the  Seychelles  an  opportunity  to integrate  blue  carbon  habitats,  in particular seagrass meadows and mangroves respectively,  within  the country’s NDC  for  both  its mitigation and adaptation value.

Photo Credit: Matthew Morgan (ICS)

Activities

Its mitigation value is the power of these habitats to sequester and store, predominantly within their soils, significant amounts of carbon. More importantly, they sequester carbon in a way that we can measure and manage. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has developed a supplement to the 2006 IPCC guidelines on national greenhouse gases emissions inventory  which recognises three  coastal  ecosystems  (mangroves,  seagrass  and  salt  marsh)  for  their  quantifiable mitigation value. The Seychelles has both mangroves and seagrass meadows. This project will focus on  seagrass  meadows  in  the  Seychelles  in  view  of  the  scale  that  is  expected  to  be  found  in  the Seychelles.

Objectives

For  the  Seychelles  to  claim  a  nature-based solution  as  a  mitigation  component  of  its  nationally determined  efforts,  it  needs  to  be  able  to measure how  this  is  reducing  emissions,  and  how  it  can manage this function effectively.

Additionally, they have adaptation values which include stabilising the sea bottom, maintaining water quality  and  providing  nurseries  for  fish  and  marine  organisms  and  thereby,  supporting  local economies. Through  their  protection and  management, we  increase  the  resilience  of  our  planet  to climate impact.

The intent is for the Seychelles’ NDC to include blue carbon habitats for both its mitigation and adaptation value. To achieve this, the Government of Seychelles, in partnership with the Seychelles’ Conservation and Climate Adaptation Trust (SeyCCAT) supported by Pew Charitable Trusts will undertake an ambitious piece of work, this is the Seychelles’ Coastal Wetlands and Climate Change Project.

 

Photo credit: Jeanne A Mortimer

 

Outputs and Benefits

The main outputs of the project are the mapping and blue carbon value calculations of the seagrass habitats’ sites. These estimates will then be provided to the Government of Seychelles to be included and form part and parcel of the:

 

Revised Nationally Determined Contribution

The Government of Seychelles will be submitting a second NDC aiming to be more ambitious than its 2015 NDC. With the support of SeyCCAT, Pew Trusts, and the Nature Conservancy, the Seychelles’ NDC will integrate blue carbon values of seagrass meadows. See more on Seychelles’ NDC news.

 

Minister Flavien Joubert (Ministry of Agriculture, Climate Change and Environment) speaking at the Ocean Climate Ambition Summit (January 2021) session on “Elevating the ocean in climate action: Ambition & ocean-based solutions in national climate goals”

The Team and Partners

 

Project Team:

Angelique Pouponneau – NDC and Climate Change Adviser

Annike Faure – Project Manager

Dr. Jeanne A Mortimer – Scientific Consultant

Marie-France Watson – Communications Consultant

Project Partners

                                                                     The PEW Charitable Trusts

The Protecting Coastal Wetlands and Coral Reefs project is a project donor and offers policy and scientific advice to the execution of the Coastal Wetlands and Climate Change Project. Through the meaningful partnership established, the Pew Trusts work closely with the SeyCCAT to successfully support the Seychelles to integrate coastal wetlands into their climate commitments. Hear from Tom Hickey, Senior Officer.

 

Government of Seychelles (GoS)

The Government of Seychelles, through the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), has committed to including an ocean chapter in the NDC, which will also, integrate the blue carbon potential of two habitats, namely mangroves and seagrass meadows. SeyCCAT works closely with DECC to provide GoS with language and data to include in the NDC and Third National Communication(TNC). All data collected during this project will be shared with the Government of Seychelles and hosted by Coastal Adaptation and Management Section under the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change.

 

The Nature Conservancy

John Verdieck and Beatriz Granziera (International Climate Policy department) from The Nature Conservancy are contracted to assist Pew Charitable Trust and SeyCCAT with support on developing the language for the NDC and the Third National Communications. Additionally, Beatriz will also assist with the preparation of the Seychelles delegation to COP and ensure that the information collected through this project feeds to the Marine Spatial Planning.

 

                                                             The University of Oxford

The University of Oxford in partnership with several local institutions will lead the Seychelles Seagrass Mapping and Carbon Assessment Project. This project will build the scientific baseline regarding seagrass distribution, extent, and soil carbon stock that is necessary to support the inclusion of seagrass protections into Seychelles’ NDC. To better understand the location and extent of seagrass, researchers will collect satellite images of seagrass beds throughout the country. As images can be affected by cloud cover, water clarity, and ocean floor features,  local researchers will also collect field data to develop a validated map of seagrass distribution and extent. To estimate seagrass carbon stocks, soil cores will be collected from meadows and analyzed for their carbon content. This carbon data, combined with the field-validated seagrass map, will provide for the first time a countrywide estimate of the seagrass carbon stock, and give policymakers in Seychelles the scientific baseline to include seagrass in the country’s NDC as a nature-based solution to climate change. Hear from Dr Gwilym Rowlands, our very own Earth Observation Scientist on the details.

 

The University of Seychelles James Michel Blue Economy Research Institute (UniSey BERI)

UniSey BERI will be the University of Oxford’s local partner in Seychelles. UniSey BERI will play a pivotal role as the local scientific partner and adviser to SeyCCAT. It will assist with the training workshops and the fieldwork that will be carried out. UniSey BERI will also be a part of the data-sharing agreement once fieldwork results are available. Hear from Dr Jerome Harlay on how this project benefits Seychelles’ only University.

 

Non-Governmental Organisations

The task of ground-truthing is dependent on stakeholders with human resource capacity. SeyCCAT will make a request for assistance for the process of ground-truthing based on their location and capacity to assist with this process.

The Science

From mapping to carbon coring, learn the science.

The Gallery

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Resources

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News

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