Protected Area management on private islands: innovate finance examples from Denis and North Islands, Seychelles

Green Island Foundation
Published: 28 January 2020
Last edited: 29 January 2020
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Summary

Green Islands Foundation, with support from the Government of Seychelles - UNDP-GEF Protected Area Finance project, has developed and implemented sustainable financing solutions for proposed protected areas on two private islands, Denis and North Islands, in Seychelles.

 

These will be the first private island reserves in Seychelles and, through the project, the islands will trial and implement novel long term sustainable financing mechanisms to fund setting up, management, policing and research at these reserves.

 

Steps are underway to proclaim the surrounding waters around North Island and Denis Island as marine reserves, ensuring their inclusion within the national protected area network. Island owners are dedicated to take the lead in monitoring and enforcing these new protected areas in collaboration with selected NGOs and with assistance of Seychelles government.

Classifications

Region
East and South Africa
Scale of implementation
Local
Ecosystem
Beach
Coastal forest
Coral reef
Marine and coastal ecosystems
Theme
Sustainable financing
Challenges
Ocean warming and acidification
Erosion
Lack of access to long-term funding
Sustainable development goals
SDG 14 – Life below water
SDG 15 – Life on land
SDG 17 – Partnerships for the goals
Aichi targets
Target 11: Protected areas
Target 20: Mobilizing resources from all sources
Business engagement approach
Direct engagement with a company

Location

Seychelles

Challenges

The establishment of long term sustainable financing at private resorts addresses challenges faced by many similar projects in small-islands context

  1. The non-availability for long term financing support for management of private protected sites especially after donor funds are exhausted
  2. Establishment of a market for high-end local products that can be sold as merchandise
  3. Access funds to conduct long term studies on ecosystems, threats and trends that allow for adaptive management of protected  sites

Beneficiaries

The scientific community, visitors to private islands, island managers , local communities and the tourism industry.

How do the building blocks interact?

A four-step approach is applied when developing long term financing schemes for private islands.

Firstly profiling of the clientele and holiday package need to be understood. This involves

  • knowledge on when visitors come to the island, their age brackets, the activities they participate in;
  • research into the possible funding streams which involve figures on revenue they can derive, what has been applied elsewhere and trial these at the specific islands.
  • discussing with all persons involved at different management levels on the feasibility of adopting these funding streams. Often there may need to be additional trialing and re-consideration of certain funding options if need be.
  • a business plan to be developed, defining the agreed financing scheme, presenting the marketing strategy for the scheme, and detailing annual and long-term revenue brought in by this scheme.

Impacts

Seeking long term and sustainable financing of nature reserves allow remote, private islands to receive legal protection status based on their  high biodiversity value. These islands would otherwise fall outside of the government’s managed network of protected sites.

The access to long term financing allows such remote sites to receive permanent protection, consistent management and for long term research to be carried out.

The financing mechanisms proposed also include the production of high-end, unique merchandise that provides a market for local artisans to develop and to sell such products to visitors. Hand-made tie-dye pareos specifically designed for sale to Denis private island’s clientele were made by Roots Seychelles, a small local company. Two local artists also painted landscapes and seascapes of Denis island of which prints will be made available for purchase for visitors.

Story

Denis Island is owned by the Mason family who are among one of the pioneers of Seychelles’ hospitality industry. The family endeavours to make the island self-sustainability sustainable, for the entire island, with tourism as the engine. 

Denis Iisland has in 1998 started a comprehensive ecosystem restoration and conservation management plan which included the removal of invasive predators (cats in 2000 and rats in 2002) and subsequently introduction of endemicspecies. Sustainable production and import substitution also formed part of the Mason’s strategy for Denis’ future sustainability and self-reliance. The farm was expanded and a new farm-to-table concept adopted, as a means to limit imports to the bare essentials that cannot be grown on the island. 

 

The research work was also extended into the marine environment, where a long-term marine survey program was started to understand long-term trends in population of marine predators, corals, fish and so on. The island also initiated a fishing policy that guides fishing activities for guests and staff at the island.

 

The creation of a protected marine reserve around the island solidifies the extensive effort put by the family into preserving the island. The research work further provides the scientific justification for the creation of the reserve. However, the reserve requires continuous management and resources. The development of the innovative funding schemes ensures dedicated funding for the proposed reserve, and that protection and research can continue for the long term. 

Contributed by

Wilna Accouche Green Islands Foundation