Press Release

GEF Empowers Local NGOs to Protect Nature Reserves in the Seychelles

February 11, 2011


February 10, 2011
Washington DC


Last week, the GEF approved a grant of $2.1 million and co-financing of $3.3 million for a promising nature conservation project for the Seychelles.

It will create synergies between current government conservation efforts and those of non-government partners in the establishment of new protected areas, and improve the management of existing terrestrial-marine protected areas.

Private sector operators, NGOs and natural resource user groups will develop and implement inclusive and cost-effective models for the planning and management. Upon completion, this project will have added 1,022 ha of terrestrial landscapes and 7,664 ha of marine areas under protection. It complements the other past and current GEF projects of the governmental portfolio of environmental conservation and natural resource management projects in the Seychelles.

Monique Barbut, the CEO and Chairperson of the Global Environment Facility said: “It will allow the Seychelles to demonstrate effective models for protected area management by non-governmental organizations and enable their inclusion into a strengthened protected area system. Local communities, as well as the terrestrial and marine biodiversity of these islands with species like Whale Sharks and Turtles, will benefit directly from this project.”

UNDP is pleased to support to Seychelles with an expanded GEF portfolio that meets the country’s challenges and realities. A new biodiversity project that will strengthen the management of protected areas has just been approved by the GEF. The economy in Seychelles is highly dependent on nature-based tourism and hence on biodiversity. Conserving and managing ecosystem effectively through partnerships involving government, private sector operators, NGOs and resource users partners is an excellent solution to meeting these challenges,” said Nik Sekhran, UNDP/GEF Principle Technical Advisor for Ecosystems and Biodiversity.

Didier Dogley, Principal Secretary, Department of Environment, Ministry of Home Affairs, Environment and Transport of the Seychelles added: “The Government of Seychelles would like to express its gratitude to the Global Environment Facility for their continued support of environmental programmes in Seychelles with the recent endorsement of another milestone project “Strengthening Seychelles’ protected area system through NGO management modalities”. The project comes at an opportune time, as the threats on the biodiversity of Seychelles are escalating, and there is an urgent need to bring together the players in the protected area management arena to face these challenges collectively. The increase in management effectiveness and the expansion of the protected area system through partnerships between government and non-governmental organizations will go a far way in addressing the challenges ahead in the conservation of Seychelles’ unique biodiversity.”

Seychelles has a system of 21 formal protected areas covering a total area of 54,813ha, of which 24,978ha (~5.5% of the total landmass) is terrestrial and 29,836ha (

 The project has the following components and outputs:

  1. Strengthened management framework for protected areas (PAs): (i) National priorities for the expansion of marine and terrestrial PA, (ii) National policy to direct a partnership approach to the expansion, planning and management of the PA system updated, (iii) New PA legislation is drafted and adopted, (iv) The capacity of PA institutions to establish and administer partnerships is strengthened, (v) An electronic information management system for PAs is developed.
  2. Expanded and strengthened management of protected areas: (i) The efficacy of active coral reef restoration techniques are tested in Cousin Island Special Reserve, (ii) An approach to the formal protection of critical habitats of whale sharks and turtles is tested, (iii) The offshore boundary of the Aldabra Special Reserve is expanded, and its management strengthened, (iv) The privately owned islands of North and Denis are established and managed as formal protected areas, under different governance regimes, (v) The design and functioning of Cousin Island Special Reserve is improved to meet both conservation and fisheries management objectives.

Participating NGOs: Marine Conservation Society of Seychelles (MCSS) , Nature Seychelles (NS) , Seychelles Islands Foundation (SIF) , Green Islands Foundation (GIF)

Participating Private Companies: North Island Company Ltd , Denis Island Pty Ltd 
Project Documentation

Media contact: Christian Hofer, Senior Communications Officer, GEF,, +1 202 413 4185