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COVID-19 has undiscriminatingly caused disruptions in the life of everyone, including to an extent the Seychelles’ Conservation and Climate Adaptation Trust (SeyCCAT). Known for our innovation in conservation financing, SeyCCAT persevered in the times of COVID-19 to pursue its mission.

“SeyCCAT strategically invests in ocean stakeholders to generate new learning, bold action and sustainable blue prosperity in Seychelles.”

Resilience: During this time of crisis, the SeyCCAT business model appears resilient with blended finance mechanisms, such as, the debt-swap and the blue bond remaining seemingly unaffected. This is despite the great decline in revenue from tourism and the disruptions in the trade links for fisheries.

CEO of SeyCCAT, Angelique Pouponneau, addressed the question, should innovative financing for the blue economy be sacrificed during the pandemic? The answer is no, as it employs people, ensures food security and will help build back better.  For the long answer, read the opinion of SeyCCAT’s CEO.

However, the work of SeyCCAT remains interwoven with the work of other actors in the wider community, such as, environmental non-governmental organisations, micro-to-small – to medium enterprises, researchers and scientists. So their resilience ensures SeyCCAT’s continued success.

But many of them have been impacted, see how.

Adaptation: Being able to adapt is a key skill to remain relevant during changing times. The prohibition to physical meetings did not stop SeyCCAT from sharing the new learnings from our many projects. We went digital. Webinars by SeyCCAT attracted participants from all continents of the world except the Antarctica, and soon our reached 850 people as we were invited to curate editions of the Little Blue Letter.

  1. Ocean optimism: Projects funded by the Debt Swap and the Blue Bond
  2. Ocean optimism: Shark conservation and building back better with the Blue Economy post COVID-19 and in a changing climate

Challenges: However, not all challenges were overcome. SeyCCAT had intended to launch the Blue Grants Fund in April 2020 but could not do so given the restrictions of movement. Lessons learned from 2019, was the most effective way of having an inclusive and accessible fund was intense public engagement and hosting capacity-building sessions. This is particularly important for one of our target audience, i.e. the small-scale fishers’ community. The Board resolved to postpone the launch of the Blue Grants Fund to July 2020. Nevertheless, given the dynamism of the COVID-19 situation, Blue Grants Fund #4 may not be accompanied by the much-needed physical engagement and classroom sessions but rather online engagements only.

SeyCCAT remains cognisant of the limitations of an ‘online-only’ engagement, but has its own deliverables to meet by having at least one Request for Proposal per year!