A capacity-building workshop on Geographical Information System (GIS), specifically on geospatial technique to assess land use, land use change and forestry under the Republic of Mauritius's Biennial Update Report opened, yesterday, at the Gold Crest Hotel in Quatre Bornes. Geospatial technique is a convenient tool for monitoring and management of agriculture, forestry and other land use sector.
The five-day workshop is organised by the Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity, and Environment and Sustainable Development (Environment and Sustainable Development Division). It aims at empowering participants on the use of geospatial techniques to develop land use maps for a particular region of Mauritius as well as assessing its accuracy.
It is expected that the acquired techniques will help to refine Mauritius's carbon sink inventory particularly the coverage of private and mountain forests and trees along roads and riverbanks and public areas, for which there is insufficient data. The overall objective is to further improve the calculation of Mauritius's greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory.
In his address at the opening ceremony, the Minister of Social Security, National Solidarity, and Environment and Sustainable Development, Mr Etienne Sinatambou, indicated that the process involving GHG assessment and carbon sink inventory will provide the right calculations and precision in analysis and survey which is currently lacking and the capacity-building workshop will give participants the level of accuracy needed.
The Minister pointed out that climate change is bringing with it extreme climate conditions with substantial and incredible adverse impact on countries and it is crucial for people to understand climate change-related basics.
Referring to the rise in temperature statistics, Mr Sinatambou stated that compared to the world average which is about 0.85 degree Celsius, the figures for Mauritius presently stands at 1.2 degree Celsius. The country is already 50% above the world average and the effects of climate change can be seen through sand and beach erosions, he highlighted.
Speaking on World Environment Day 2018 which was celebrated under the theme 'Beating plastic pollution' earlier in June, the Minister said that plastic pollution is a major contributor to what is happening with regards to climate change. If the current trend continues, by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans, he stated. In Mauritius, the figures pertaining to plastic bottles usage amount to more than 100 million plastic bottles per year, he added.
Moreover, the Minister appealed to all citizens to react whenever an individual is caught littering in towns, suburbs and rural areas and thus help in changing people's overall un-civic approach to the environment.
In fulfillment of the reporting requirement to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Republic of Mauritius has embarked on the preparation of its first Biennial Update Report which covered the period 2014 to 2016. The scope of the Report is to provide an update to the most recently submitted national communication taking into account development priorities, objectives, capacities and national circumstances every two years.