A training workshop on Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), aiming to build capacity in coastal risk management and enhance the EIA procedures based on international best practices opened, this morning, at the Pearle Beach Resort & Spa in Flic en Flac.
The Minister of Social Security, National Solidarity, and Environment and Sustainable Development, Mr Etienne Sinatambou, and the Officer in Charge of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Mrs Suchita Sekharan, were present.
In his keynote address, Minister Sinatambou stated that with the support from the Adaptation Fund project entitled 'Climate Change Adaptation in the Coastal Zones of the Republic of Mauritius', the NCZAS has been developed to address all perceived climate change risks in the coastal zone of Mauritius and Rodrigues to promote and enhance resilience in the coastal areas of the Republic.
The Minister also spoke of Government's commitment to tackle both mitigation and adaptation measures as regards climate change. He recalled that Budget 2018-2019 had made provision for a Drain Impact Assessment for morcellement permit to be undertaken as part of the EIA report.
Furthermore, Mr Sinatambou underlined that EIA is an important tool for sound decision making and for achieving sustainable development. Around 120 EIAs with more than 95% of the EIA's not disputed has been processed so far, he indicated. Therefore, he added, the current workshop will help to train and inform staff of the Ministry in coastal risk management and in the ways this need to be embraced within current EIA procedures.
For her part, the Officer in Charge of the UNDP, Mrs Sekharan, pointed out that the workshop will enable to reinforce the capacity of policymakers in EIA, to improve the processing of EIA reports and award of licenses, taking into account the climate change dimension. She also stated that training manuals on Strategic Environmental Assessment will be given to participants to take an overall perspective as to how costal management issues should be tackled.
A presentation of the final National Coastal Zone Adaptation Strategy (NCZAS) developed for the Republic of Mauritius was also on the agenda of the workshop. The resource person is Mr Jonathan McCue, who is a team leader from AGRER S.A-N.V, Belgium. He is an expert in the areas of coastal adaptation, marine spatial planning and ocean governance and EIA.
The focus of the NCZAS is to identify ways to ensure that coastal flood and erosion adaptation techniques as well as wider land developments, can be made resilient against climate change threats in a more cost-effective and socially acceptable way. It provides guidance to ensure that current and future Mauritius and Rodrigues shoreline protection schemes are planned appropriately so as to cope with predicted climatic change.