The Seychelles Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) Initiative is a public process focused on planning for, and management of, the sustainable and long-term use and health of the Seychelles Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), a marine area covering 1,374,000 km2 and 115 islands. The MSP Initiative is a government-led process, with planning and facilitation managed by a partnership between The Nature Conservancy, the Government of Seychelles, and the United Nations Development Programme - Global Environment Facility Programme Coordinating Unit. Funding for the Initiative is being provided by UNDP-GEF grants to the Government of Seychelles, and an Oceans 5 grant to The Nature Conservancy.
Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) provides a participatory and transparent way to focus on sustainable uses for the Seychelles marine environment and minimise spatial conflicts between uses. The Seychelles MSP Initiative takes an integrated, multi-sector approach and will balance ecological, social, cultural and economic objectives. The participatory nature of MSP encourages communities and private sector partners to provide advice, information and input to the Seychelles Initiative.
Article 38 of the Constitution of Seychelles provides the authority for planning and the guiding principles, vision and goals of the Seychelles Sustainable Development Strategy (SSDS) helps provide the framework for the MSP Initiative. The Initiative will develop an integrated, multi-use marine zoning and climate change adaptation plan to optimise the sustainable use and effective management of the Seychelles marine environment while ensuring and improving the social, cultural and economic wellbeing of its people. This marine plan will serve as the basis for guiding the strategies and decisions of the Seychelles Conservation & Climate Adaptation Trust (SeyCCAT) that was established by the Government of Seychelles for a Debt-for-Climate-Change-Adaptation swap. Phase I of the MSP Initiative (February 2014 – June 2015) will produce a suite of design options, tools and management strategies as a basis for further development and implementation of the national multi-use plan.
The Seychelles MSP Initiative was launched at a workshop on 4-5 February 2014 in Victoria. The key objectives of that workshop were to introduce the MSP Initiative being facilitated by The Nature Conservancy, and identify the key components that will support the Seychelles Blue Economy. People at the workshop identified seven sectors important to the scope of the planning process (in no particular order): biodiversity conservation, cultural heritage, fisheries, marine transportation, petroleum (mineral & aggregate) extraction, renewable energy, and tourism. Focusing on the seven sectors, participants were led through a 10-20 year visioning exercise to describe what they did and did not want to see for these sectors over this time scale. The results of the visioning exercise were refined into general goals by the workshop participants and ranked in order of low, medium, and high priority.
A website is currently being developed for the MSP Initiative (www.seychellesmarinespatialplanning.com) that will host all the relevant background documents, reports and presentations. The website will be used to keep all stakeholders updated on progress of the process and should be accessible by early July. In the interim, all related handouts and documents are included in the annex section.