In September 2007, UNDP began the implementation of the GEF-funded Agulhas and Somali Current Large Marine Ecosystems Project (ASCLME) with the objective of undertaking an environmental baseline assessment of the Agulhas and Somali Current Large Marine Ecosystems under one initial assessment process, wanting to fill information gaps needed to improve management decision-making, and to ascertain the role of external forcing functions such as the Mascarene Plateau and the Southern Equatorial Current
The final delivery was a Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis (TDA) leading to a Strategic Action Programme (SAP) for the regional LME management approach as per the objectives, which was endorsed by all participating countries
This SAP implementation project was formally approved by GEF in November 2013 as the Strategic Action Programme Policy Harmonisation and Institutional Reforms’ (SAPPHIRE) project and was developed to take the TDA-SAP development process to the next stage of implementation. Five components were identified with component four being the “demonstrating innovative management mechanisms for dealing with high seas areas and, specifically, extended continental shelves”.
The treaty between Mauritius and Seychelles and the JMA was seen as the ideal space and opportunity to demonstrate such innovative management mechanisms and could provide valuable lessons and best practices for replication throughout the western Indian Ocean LMEs as well as the Global LME community at large.
After consultations with both countries, it was agreed that, although the project should remain within the framework of the GEF SAPPHIRE project, the JMA part will be implemented as a separate standalone UNDP initiative, remaining closely linked to the overall SAP implementation process with close coordination within the SAPPHIRE project, and hence begin the implementation of the Standalone Demonstration Project for the JMA.
The JMA represents the first ‘transboundary’ management agreement for an ECS scenario and in 2017 GEF approved the funding of the Demonstrating Innovative Ocean Governance Mechanisms and Delivering Best Practices and Lessons for Extended Continental Shelf Management within the Western Indian Ocean Large Marine Ecosystem Project or the UNDP-JMA Standalone Demonstration Project for the sum of USD 2.2M. The project originally had a lifespan of four years and the UNDP is the responsible body with the mandate to implement it from 2018-2021. The project management unit is based in Mauritius and the project manager is a Seychellois. The project is currently being explored further so as to extend its lifespan to the year 2023.
The UNDP-JMA Standalone Demonstration Project will identify and demonstrate new management approaches and techniques concerning database management for the Mascarene Plateau.
It will assist both Seychelles and Mauritius in the development and demonstration of new management approaches bridging the gap between science and policy in the ECS. This can provide lessons and management techniques that can be replicated both within the Western Indian Ocean as well as in other similar maritime zones globally.
The UNDP-JMA Standalone Demonstration Project would also attempt to identify the data gap in terms of the underlying living and non-living resources in the joint zone. It aims at achieving its objectives through the delivery of four components as follows:
Ministry of Fisheries and Blue Economy
2nd Floor Maison Collet
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Republic of Seychelles