Ecosystem-based Adaptation to Climate Change in Seychelles
This is the Terms of Reference (ToR) for the UNDP-Adaptation Fund Midterm EvaluationE(MTE) of the project titled Ecosystem-based Adaptation to Climate Change in Seychelles (PIMS 4775) implemented through the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change, GOS-UNDP-GEF Programme Coordination Unit, which is to be undertaken in October-February 2017. The project started on the 4th June 2014 and it is in its fourth year of implementation. This ToR sets out the expectations for this MTE.
The project seeks to reduce the vulnerability of the Seychelles to climate change, focusing on two key issues—water scarcity and flooding. The climate change projections in the Seychelles show that rainfall, while increasing in overall terms, will become even more irregular. Much of the precipitation is falling in sharp bursts, creating heavy flooding in the wet season, while imposing extended period of drought during the dry season. As the country does not have a large water storage capacity, and the topography of the islands constrains such infrastructure, water supplies are heavily dependent on rainfall. Furthermore, the coastal zone is vulnerable to flooding as a consequence of rising sea surface levels, and increased storm surges from cyclonic activity in the Western Indian Ocean. The project will reduce these vulnerabilities by spearheading ecosystem-based adaptation as climate change risk management—restoring ecosystem functionality, and enhancing ecosystem resilience and sustaining watershed and coastal processes in order to secure critical water provisioning and flood attenuation ecosystem services from watersheds and coastal areas.
The project has three components:
Component 1 aims to maintain and enhance upland wetlands in watersheds and strengthen the integrity of the forest landscape and the forest water provisioning services (through reforestation and removal of invasive alien species and re-colonize with native plants), retain and improve water holding capacity (and biodiversity features), improving run-of-river barrages and water control structures, sustainably managing watercourses and promoting local stewardship of watersheds. The watershed rehabilitation is being implemented in selected watersheds covering 1,800 ha on Mahe Island and about 1,200 hectares on Praslin Island.
Component 2 aims to maintain and enhance tidal wetlands, beach berms and coral reef functions with EbA measures that include (a) selective shoreline re-vegetation and protection, (b) wetland enhancement and improvement of tidal exchange, (c) coral reef rehabilitation, enhancement and protection to enhance their climate change adaptation role in flood attenuation, and (d) measures that address saltwater intrusion effects on low lying agricultural areas focusing strategically on sites with high vulnerability to climate change (assets at risk). The interventions focus on two priority sites where coastal development, erosion and climate change have diminished the natural coastal defenses and opportunities exist to strengthen the ecosystem attributes and processes. These physical measures are complemented with policy, legal and institutional capacity development support measures in Component 3. The coastal rehabilitation is being implemented at two sites covering an impact area of about 1,000 ha.
Component 3 aims to develop the policy framework for watershed management which is needed to support EbA measures to address water scarcity and flooding problems, and to increase the capacity to respond to climate change through watershed and coastal management. It is generating appropriate legislation, regulations, standards and guidelines for watershed and coastal protection, and training government, university faculty and NGO staff in applying EbA measures in development decision making in the Seychelles, influencing watershed and coastal management throughout the Mahe and Praslin Islands (covering approximately 20,000 hectares). This component increases the awareness, skills and responsibilities of a wide range of stakeholders including district authorities and community organisations in ecosystem-based adaptation for watersheds and coastal areas, and builds the lasting basis for further education, training and application in watershed and coastal ecosystem rehabilitation.
The underlying principle of the project is that healthy ecosystems can play a vital role in maintaining and increasing resilience to climate change and in reducing climate-related risk and vulnerability. The project invests in measures to restore ecosystem functionality, building on techniques that have been piloted in Seychelles, and adapting these by incorporating other good practices. Ecosystem based adaptation is being integrated into the country’s development planning, policy and land and water management systems – through this project and three other EBA projects running concurrently – ensuring that environmental impact assessments and management measures protect these ecosystem services.
The project is for six years (2014-2020). It has a budget from Adaptation Fund of US$ 5,950,000. The project is managed by the GOS-UNDP-GEF Programme Coordination Unit (PCU) of the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change (MEECC).