Seychelles has pioneered the blue economy concept as a model for sustainable development and future prosperity since 2014. The model adopted focuses on economic diversification, local employment and investment opportunities, food security, and the effective protection and sustainable use of marine and coastal environments. Seychelles blue economy strategy internalizes global commitments to the SDG agenda and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, and is consistent with regional blue economy strategies.
Seychelles comparative advantage lies in its natural capital and the tourism and fisheries sectors that dominate the economy are highly dependent on the health of coastal and marine ecosystems. Unsustainable practices will erode this natural capital and incomes for fishers and tourism operators, jeopardizing future investments in the blue economy. Moreover, overfishing will pose significant risks to nutrition and food security in a country where almost all fish consumption is based on local fisheries production. Since these impacts will be compounded by climate change, precautionary fisheries management will be required to promote ecosystem resilience.
To support its blue economy strategy, the Government of Seychelles is preparing the Third South West Indian Ocean Fisheries Governance and Shared Growth Project (SWIOFish3) with financial support from the World Bank, the GEF and from the issuance of a sovereign blue bond. Following graduation to a high income country, Seychelles has sought to diversify sources of funding. Consequently, the country has turned to Innovative financial instruments, such as blue bonds, which aim is to raise capital from private investors interested in supporting a sustainable development agenda. Scheduled for 2017, Seychelles sovereign blue bond issuance aims to raise US$ 15 million.
Specifically, the SWIOFish3 project supports the Seychelles Marine Spatial Planning Initiative, which will expand sustainable-use marine protected areas to conserve biodiversity across 15% of the EEZ. Improved governance of priority fisheries will also be supported, with key objectives including ending open access, stock rebuilding, addressing overcapitalization, and adoption of rights-based approaches. These interventions in marine and fisheries governance will provide a foundation the development of seafood value chains, which are a cornerstone of the countrys blue economy strategy.
SWIOFish3 has been designed to utilize the proceeds of blue bonds in the form of grants and loans that will be administered by the Seychelles Conservation and Climate Adaptation Trust (SeyCCAT), an independent local Trust Fund established under Seychelles legislation, and the Development Bank of Seychelles. They will be used to support private sector investments in scientific and logistical support services, skills development, eco-labelling and postharvest and value adding activities as alternative business opportunities for fishers, as well as public investment in rebuilding fish stocks and addressing overcapitalization. Critically, the disbursement of grants and loans are tied to governance milestones in order to prevent changes in demand or price signals placing greater pressure on fisheries resources.
Ultimately, the Seychelles Blue Bond aims to integrate governance and investment, creating a replicable and scalable model for other countries or regions interested in innovative finance for sustainable development of ocean economies.
Updates to voluntary commitment
integrated management of marine protection, climate change and fisheries management in 15 % of Seychelles EEZ as part of its MSP process
Phased approach from open access to rights based management of Seychelles small scale fisheries
A restructure of the small scale fisheries sector towards value chains and increased employment and local investment opportunities
Increased contribution to GDP from sustainble small scale fisheries and associated activities