13 December 2019
The Seychelles suffered severe degradation of its coral reefs after a number of mass coral bleaching events that left these fragile ecosystems devastated. The subsequent damage to the resilience of the country’s coasts resulted in increased coastal erosion and flooding of local communities. A rising sea level caused by climate change would only exacerbate the situation even further and current attempts to restore the reefs simply weren't sufficient to counteract the effects.
Faced with this significant environmental challenge, the World Bank Group appointed us to develop a strategy that would help the Government of Seychelles to implement and finance large-scale restoration of its coral reefs and improve the resilience of its coasts.
Our team of specialists worked closely with economists, the University of the Seychelles and two NGOs with coral restoration expertise to cover every aspect of the strategy.
Funded through the “Resilience to Climate Change” program of the Global Facility of Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), upscaling of spatial scales was critical to the strategy’s success, including geographic coverage for the larger populated islands of the Seychelles and increasing the extent of individual restoration initiatives.
Our holistic approach combined economics, ecology and coastal management with a strong focus on teaming with local partners. We developed a framework for evaluating the risks and opportunities for restoration in an environmental context and used this to prioritise restoration sites and activities.
We also developed an economic guidance framework which was applied to two sites as case studies, following which we prepared a detailed business case for large-scale coral reef restoration that highlighted the opportunities to take advantage of sustainable financing options.
Thanks to our work on the project, the Seychelles will be the first country in the world to have a national coral reef restoration strategy.
Our work will help guide future reef restoration decisions for decades to come, enhancing coastal management for long-term benefit and growing the implementation of coral reef restoration for coastal protection with confidence.
This article is part of #BestOfBMT 2019, featuring our best projects throughout the year.
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