Inclusive conservation governance on remote islands: Lessons from Seychelles

Blue Safari
Publicado: 17 Diciembre 2019
Última edición: 30 Septiembre 2020
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Seychelles is located in the Western Indian Ocean, between Madagascar and the Horn of Africa. It is an archipelago comprising 155 islands (as per the Constitution), spread across more than 1.4 million square kilometers of Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).


The Island Conservation Society (ICS), a Non-Governmental Organization in Seychelles, has been working together with its partners to develop a new financing model for managing conservation on remote island atolls. This model involves the establishment of Foundations, whose memberships comprise representation from government, parastatals / state-owned enterprises, private tourism investors operating on the islands, as well as ICS. Each Foundation ensures joint decision-making and transparency in environmental management on the islands, as well as financial self-sufficiency. Since 2006, 11 Foundations have been established for 13 island groups. Six are fully funded with active conservation programmes, and three of them have endowment funds.


África Oriente y África del Sur
Scale of implementation
Arrecifes coralinos
Ecosistemas marinos y costeros
Actores locales
Ciencia y investigación
Financiación sostenible
Gobernanza de las áreas protegidas y conservadas
Incremento de temperatura
Sustainable development goals
ODS 14 - Vida submarina
ODS 15 - Vida de ecosistemas terrestres
ODS 17 - Alianzas para lograr los objetivos
Business engagement approach
Compromiso directo con una empresa


Outer Islands, Seychelles


Remoteness: Because they are not immediately visible, remote islands, rarely visited by local citizens, can become forgotten. This places pressure on the availability of financing. Therefore, through support from the GOS-UNDP-GEF Outer Islands project, the islands have developed business plans to address this challenge. Greater emphasis is also placed on communication, so they are not forgotten, but considered in national decisions. 


Matching expectations: The Foundations contains members with different perspectives on what the Foundations' objectives should achieve. As a result, compromise is required, as well as continued dialogue. As the number of actors operating on the islands is limited, due to their remoteness and small size, membership of the Foundations is often limited to few organisations (represented by individuals they nominate), which can limit the number of perspectives and new ideas.


Developers and private operators on islands benefit from improved national conservation assets on the islands and learn more about conservation.

Seychellois citizens benefit from knowing the islands better, and their heritage being protected.

¿ Cómo interactúan los building blocks en la solución?

Each building block are mutually reinforcing. The conservation management plan guides the decision-making of the Foundation, and the Foundation affects the contribtions and performance of the Endowment Fund.


The Foundations have already delivered a series of impacts for the conservation on the islands which they support, namely:

  • Transparency and equity: The membership of the Foundations consist of private investors on the islands, government (Ministry of Environment, parastatals such as Islands Development Company and Seychelles National Park Authority) and NGOs. There is joint ownership and equal voting rights on decisions within the Foundations. Each is governed by a Constitution and Agreement between stakeholders on the islands.
  • Financing conservation: The Foundations are responsible for the sustainable financing of the conservation efforts on the islands. These consist of direct contributions from the tourism investors on the islands, as either a fixed fee per guest, or proportion of turnover. In addition, Corporate Social Responsibility Payments (CSR) are channeled from tourism investors to the Foundation for conservation activities and to build a permanent endowment fund.  IDC provides accommodation, transport, logistical support and CSR.
  • Governance: The Foundation oversees implementation of the conservation management plan on the island within its sphere of responsibility.


The Alphonse Foundation was created in 2007. The Founding trustees were from the Islands Development Company, Island Conservation Society, investors operating on the island at the time and the Ministry of Environment of Seychelles. The Alphonse Foundation was amongst the initial foundations set up to support environmental conservation efforts on the outer islands of Seychelles. Over the years, it has played a pivotal role in balancing the conservation and rehabilitation activities for the islands of the Alphonse and St Francois Atolls with sustainable low-impact ecotourism development. 


Alphonse island is known nowadays as an important global destination for fly-fishing for the Giant Trevally and other target species. There is currently one operator on the island that conducts fly- fishing activities off the reef with international tourists.

However, the Alphonse Foundation wanted to know the impacts of the fishing operations on the environment, in order to ensure that the allowable activities would not have a long-term negative impact on the sensitive ecosystem. Therefore, in partnership with the operators, an innovative research programme to track the Giant Trevally movements around the atoll is being conducted in order to understand the correct management actions, such as whether and when to open and close different areas.

This project is being financially supported by a grant from the Seychelles Conservation and Climate Adaptation Trust (SeyCCAT), the Alphonse Foundation and its members, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, as well as other international partners.

The objective of the private operator is to use science to inform its business operations. The fishing guides working for the fly-fishing operator are assisting to tag fish as well as informing guests of the project and the importance of its results. 

Little is known about the impact of fly-fishing on ecosystems and this will provide lessons and the model can be replicated on other islands.

Contribuido por

Imagen de andrewrylance_37813

Andrew Rylance

Other contributors

Michelle Murray
Island Conservation Society
Pierre-Andre Adam
Island Conservation Society