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Le National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan 2017-2025 ainsi que le Protected Area Network Expansion Strategy 2017-2026 ont été lancés par le ministre de l’Agro-industrie et de la Sécurité alimentaire, Mahen Seeruttun, le mardi 30 mai 2017 à Port-Louis. La stratégie nationale passe en revue la situation de la biodiversité à Maurice et fixe les objectifs en termes de biodiversité et de conservation.

Et, le plan d’action couvrant la période 2017 à 2026 définit les programmes qui doivent être développés pour protéger, conserver, restaurer les services concernant la biodiversité naturelle, et les services au profit des générations présentes et futures.

Le ministre Seeruttun a rappelé le soutien du PNUD (Programme des Nations Unies pour le Développement) dans le cadre de la réalisation des deux documents sans oublier l’apport financier du GEF (Global Environment Facility).

Ci-dessous le discours du ministre Seeruttun lors du lancement.

« Today we are celebrating the International Day of Biological Diversity under the theme of: Biodiversity and Sustainable Tourism.

As you are all aware, this year has been proclaimed as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism by the United Nations.

We have chosen to mark this event with the launching of two important strategic plans which will set new targets and objectives for the protection of our biodiversity and prevent its further loss.

Both these two strategic plans have been prepared as part of the Government’s obligations towards the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity and achievement of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets.

These plans also address our commitments to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals as well as the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

I would like to extend my heartfelt appreciation to the UNDP for its unflinching support in the elaboration of the two plans and, of course, I also thank the Global Environment Facility providing funding support for the projects.

My appreciation also goes to the two dedicated project teams, the staff of the NPCS, the Forestry Service and the Ministry as well as well as the consultants and all the stakeholders and each and everyone involved for their valuable contribution in finalizing and producing these plans.

You are all aware that we are a small island economy with a unique cultural and natural heritage.

But despite our rich assets, our ecosystems are highly threatened due to our small size, isolation and fragility. It is reported that 80% of known species extinctions have occurred on islands.

Our small island like other SIDS is on the frontline of global changes. From the ongoing impacts of climate change and resource depletion to invasive species, urban growth, exploitation of natural resources and food pressures, islands such as ours are classified among the most vulnerable nations by the international community.

As I said these strategic plans set new targets and objectives for the protection of our biodiversity and for expanding and enhancing management of our protected areas. The two plans, though distinct and separate, are, in fact, closely related.

Under Article 6 of the CBD, Mauritius as a Contracting Party we have an obligation for national biodiversity planning. A national strategy should reflect how the country intends to fulfill the objectives of the Convention in light of specific national circumstances, and the related action plans constitute the sequence of steps to be taken to meet these goals.

The National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan is, therefore, our main instrument for implementing the Convention on Biological Diversity. It has a strategic vision and a plan of actions which seek to integrate consideration of the conservation and sustainable use of biological resources into national decision-making, and mainstream issues across all sectors of the national economy and policy-making framework, which is quite a complex challenge.

Funding support to the tune of 220,000 US Dollars was obtained from the GEF to review and update the existing NBSAP 2006-2015 and integrate elements of the CBD Strategic Plan 2011-2020 and the 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets as well as new obligations under the SDGs and other relevant international conventions.

The reviewing and updating of the existing strategy has enlisted the participation and collaboration of a number of stakeholders in the process and I must say, this is a successful and commendable multi sectoral participatory and effort to mainstream biodiversity into the policies and programmes of various ministries and departments as well as private stakeholders. This is a leading example of building partnership, linkages and synergy among all the sectors of society to protect our natural assets and our biodiversity.

The project has also included the conduct of three interesting studies which have been presented earlier on by the Project Manager. The findings and conclusions of these studies have been incorporated in the strategy plan as measures and targets to be achieved.

The Protected Area Network Expansion Strategy defines the roadmap to further expand our protected areas and ensure their effective and sustainable management. Again to protect our valuable natural heritage.

Our Protected areas are the cornerstone of biodiversity conservation; they maintain key habitats, provide refuge to species, allow for species migration and movement, and ensure the maintenance of natural processes across the landscape. Not only do protected areas secure biodiversity conservation, they also secure the well-being of humanity itself.

Protected areas provide livelihoods for nearly 1.1 billion people in the world and they are the primary source of drinking water for over a third of the world’s largest cities. They are a major factor in ensuring global food security.

Well managed protected areas yield significant benefits far beyond their boundaries. As the detrimental impact of climate change threatens the whole planet, protected areas provide a convenient solution to an inconvenient truth. Better managed, better connected, better governed and better financed protected areas are recognized as the key to both mitigation and adaptation responses to climate change.

By producing the Protected Area Network Strategy for Mauritius, we are joining the few CBD contracting parties which have already established well defined protected areas. This shows the strong commitment of the Government towards fulfilling its obligations under the CBD.

The PANES enshrines the development of a participatory, ecologically representative and effectively managed national system of protected areas. The strategy can be considered as a defining framework or “blueprint” for our protected areas for the coming decade.

It is a framework for cooperation between the Government, NGOs and the civil society, for without such collaboration, the programme cannot be successful and sustainable over the long-term.

According to the CBD, since it developed its Programme of Work on Protected Areas in 2004, nearly 6,000 new protected areas have been established, covering more than 60 million hectares across many countries. There are now about 130,000 protected areas, covering nearly 13% of the world’s terrestrial surface, and over 6% of territorial marine areas. Many of these are embedded in comprehensive national and regional networks of connected protected areas and corridors.

Protected areas are considered as a strategic investment for our national economy. A recent report of the CBD estimates that investments in creating and managing protected areas will yield returns in societal benefits on the order of 25:1 to 100:1.

Protected areas are therefore today viewed as a fundamental strategy to not only conserve biodiversity, but also to achieve the SDGs, secure vital ecosystem services, support local livelihoods, and enable humans and nature alike to adapt to the impacts of climate change.

The Strategy is embedded in a strong vision for our protected areas to benefit our present and future generations by protecting our natural, social, economic and cultural values. The strategy aims to engender a love of nature and a deeper understanding of the importance of our critical ecosystems and biodiversity. It sets out to project our island as an outstanding example for the world to advance global sustainability initiatives and to contribute to a habitable Planet.

The two strategy documents will be launched today and they will be available to everyone as reference documents and for consultations. The Ministry will now put in place the mechanisms for the implementation of the strategic plans. And I make an urgent appeal to all stakeholders to collaborate in the implementation of these strategies for the protection of our biodiversity.”

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