Economic inequality in a high income country: Can the Blue Economy Mind the Gap?

Recent emotive statements by politicians vying for the post of President in both the United States and Seychelles made me realize that no matter how different the Presidential races may be between these two countries, there are indeed some important similarities. Continue reading Economic inequality in a high income country: Can the Blue Economy Mind the Gap?

A new way to walk

The People 2/10/2014:  When addressing the UN General Assembly last week, President Barrack Obama remarked “Seychelles President James Michel said it was up to the countries that burn the most coal, oil and gas to do the most. If they don’t do something, the Earth will not survive and that will be the end of us all, Michel said”  Continue reading A new way to walk

Breaking the Silos: Implementing ‘Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development’

The‘2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’ will require a new culture of “shared responsibility,” described by the UN Secretary-General as based on agreed universal norms, global commitments, shared rules and evidence, collective action, and benchmarking for progress. Continue reading Breaking the Silos: Implementing ‘Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development’

How can Seychelles transform itself into a blue economy state?

The People 10 April 2015: The government is pushing forward on transforming Seychelles into a Blue Economy. To be honest, the concept is still unclear to many outside the Government. We asked civil society leader and environmental & sustainability expert Dr.Nirmal Jivan Shah for his opinion. Continue reading How can Seychelles transform itself into a blue economy state?

Ports and harbors are in harm’s way because of climate change

Port Victoria, Seychelles (wikimedia)
Port Victoria, Seychelles (wikimedia)

It’s a no brainer:  one look at Port Victoria and one instantly realizes that seaports are located in areas that will bear the brunt of climate change impacts. These areas are coastal zones likely to experience sea-level rise, storms and flooding. One would think therefore that port authorities around the world would be planning for climate adaptation. But few are according to Stanford University researchers who surveyed port authorities from around the world. The agencies were asked about how they thought climate change might impact their operations and how they planned to adapt to new environmental conditions.

This was the first global survey of port authorities regarding climate change adaptation. The results were published in the journal Climatic Change in 2012. Members of the International Association of Ports and Harbors and the American Association of Port Authorities were surveyed. Ninety three agencies representing major seaports across the world replied. The majority said that sea level rise and increased storm events resulting from climate change were major preoccupations. However, only 6 percent said that they have plans to build hurricane barriers within the next 10 years, and less than 18 percent planned to build dikes or other storm protection

Survey respondents mostly all reported that ports will be expanded in the near future. This means that climate change adaptation measures need to be added to new infrastructure to ensure they are still operational at the end of the century. However, although respondents agreed that they need to address climate change, almost all said they did not have enough knowledge of climate change impacts and how their ports should adapt to them.

The researchers state that by the end of the century, many ports will be in trouble, even if the most conservative estimates for sea level rise are used. They go on to say that the scientific community must engage with port agencies to assist them in preparing for climate change impacts.

A problem on a global scale is that ports may start scrambling all at once to adapt their structures to changing environmental conditions which could then exceed capacity for construction worldwide, the researchers have said.

But for Seychelles, a sea locked county (compared to land locked), the problem could be worse as our maritime links would be cut off if our port is damaged by climate change. The Catch 22 is that construction materials for repairs may not be unloaded if that happens. And of course all the other goods brought in by sea may not reach us. Only the international airport would save us from being effectively marooned.