Citizens praise government efforts but want more - even at considerable economic cost.
- About four in 10 Seychellois (39%) say droughts have become more severe over the past 10 years, while a majority say they have lessened in severity (25%) or stayed the same (31%). Only 24% say floods have gotten worse.
- Eight in 10 Seychellois (80%) say they have heard of climate change. Among those who are aware of climate change: o More than half (54%) say it is making life in Seychelles worse. o More than three-quarters (78%) say ordinary citizens can help curb climate change, while 64% want the government to take immediate action to limit climate change, even if it is expensive, causes job losses, or takes a toll on the economy. o Large majorities say greater efforts to limit climate change are needed from developed countries (89%), business and industry (88%), the government (86%), and ordinary citizens (80%).
- Overall, two-thirds (65%) of Seychellois say the government is doing a good job of addressing climate change.
Seychelles, a small island developing state made up of about 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, is ecologically fragile and highly vulnerable to climate change. High exposure to natural disasters and the impacts of rising temperatures and sea levels threaten wide-ranging effects on infrastructure, agricultural yields, livelihoods, the national economy, and human security (Scandurra, Romano, Ronghi, & Carfora, 2018; Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2018; Robinson, 2015; Nurse et al., 2014).
Most of Seychelles' development and 80% of its critical infrastructure are located on the coastline and directly exposed to climate change impacts such as sea-level rise, floods, and erosion (Etongo, 2019; Rice, Rolf, Rumschlag, & Xie, 2019).
Early to recognize the threat, Seychelles was the second country to ratify the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (1992). Under the commitments of the Paris Agreement, its Nationally Determined Contributions document pledges to reduce economy-wide emissions by 26% by 2030 and to achieve a net-zero emissions economy by 2050 (United Nations Development Programme, 2022). A variety of adaptation interventions, ranging from
retaining walls and rock armoring to ecosystem-based adaptation actions such as dune and mangrove restoration and watershed management, are underway and are considered national priorities (Etongo, Amelie, Pouponneau, & Filho, 2021).
This dispatch reports on a special survey module included in the Afrobarometer Round 9 questionnaire to explore Seychellois' experiences and perceptions of climate change.
Findings show that climate change is a well-known concept in Seychelles and a majority of citizens familiar with climate change say it is making life worse. While most citizens praise the government's efforts to limit change, overwhelming majorities say greater efforts are needed from developed countries, businesses and industry, and ordinary citizens as well as the government.
Wallelign S. Hassen Wallelign S. Hassen is a researcher at the University of Florida.