By Peter Brinn
The aim of the GCCA+ Seychelles Climate Change Project, a project currently being implemented by Stantec in Seychelles, is to share knowledge on climate change and develop the capacities of both the public and governmental organizations to help the country be ready for and adapt to a changing climate. Below is an account of a recent initiative carried forward by Peter Brinn, a climate change expert that has been present in Seychelles full-time to implement the project.
To encourage awareness and discussion about climate change in Seychelles, the idea was concocted last year to organize an event that would bring together people from all walks of life. Without a budget, but with lots of enthusiasm and the generous offer of space at the University of Seychelles, the idea of a one-day “Talking Climate Chaos” event took shape.
The word was circulated about the event to NGOs, the Private Sector, Schools and Government Departments, offering space for them to make a presentation, workshop or exhibition on the theme of climate change. The response was impressive, with 28 different individuals and organisations eager to be involved.
Climate change affects everyone, so all were welcome to come and join in. The day’s programme took place on Friday, January 31st and was attended and enjoyed by over a hundred participants. The opening included reflections on climate change from the young and the old, a specially commissioned dance and music performances. Following the opening, a series of short informative presentations on different aspects of climate change were given in the main theatre. Topics covered included the Cerf Island Conservation Programme, energy efficiency, Blue Carbon and the geological evolution of the Seychelles microcontinent. Climate change and it’s role in policy making was also addressed by several presenters. It was great to see the range of demographic who shared their ideas, with presentations ranging from the Youth Climate Lab and the National Council for the Elderly.
But it was not all about presentations. There were also a wide range of exhibits and demos from the GOS-UNDP-AF Ecosystem Based Adaptation (EBA) Project, the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change, the Ministry of Education, Wildlife Clubs of Seychelles, Sustainability for Seychelles, Plant Conservation Action Group, the Seychelles Energy Commission as well as the Public Utilities Corporation. Secondary school children, including students from the International School Praslin, were particularly keen to learn more about current environmental practices and projects that are addressing climate change issues. The event concluded with two hands-on workshops by the Global Climate Change Alliance, implemented by Stantec, and the Ecosystem Based Adaptation (EBA) Project. This dynamic approach to the event allowed stakeholders from several different sides to come together and feel welcomed to engage in dialogue with one another.
This was the first climate event of this kind organised in Seychelles, and next time it is anticipated to be even more robust, with more dialogs about “climate chaos”!
Peter Brinn and Stantec have a long-term collaboration in climate change, first as a key expert of the Global Climate Change Alliance support facility at the global level then as a team leader of the GCCA National programme in Seychelles, both implemented by Stantec. Stantec has been working with Seychelles authorities since 2014 on climate change and water projects.