Protecting the environment
The islands of the Indian Ocean are reservoirs of biodiversity. But their geographical distribution and their isolation, which are at the origin of these unique evolutionary processes, explain at the same time the high vulnerability of island ecosystems when confronted to human pressures (water pollution, destruction of the coastline, overexploitation of marine resources, uncontrolled tourism, introduction of alien species...), to natural phenomena (hurricanes, floods...) and to ongoing climate change. They are now one among the 34 "hot spots" of global biodiversity, that is to say an area with a huge variety of endemic species – at least 1500 plant species, which has lost at least 70 % of its original habitat. Due to the high dependence of the islands of the IOC on their natural resources and on their ecosystemic services, biodiversity conservation therefore becomes a critical issue for the well being of the population of the region.
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Projects devoted to the environment and natural resources have increased significantly during the recent years. They now represent 65% of the funds mobilized by the IOC. The Commission has been entrusted the responsibility of extensive marine and coastal resources management programmes, beyond its natural boundaries. To address these numerous challenges in this field, the IOC is preparing a regional environment strategy. Mauritius and France / Réunion have already organized national workshops, the three other IOC countries will soon follow, and this is a prelude to the organization of a regional validation workshop.
The Indian Ocean Commission is implementing the Environmental Components B & C of the “GEF-Western Indian Ocean marine highway development and coastal and marine contamination prevention project”:
- Component B: Capacity building for prevention of coastal and marine contamination,
- Component C: Building capacity for regional oil and chemical spill response.
The IOC, through its ICZM project, in addition to support for monitoring and assessment of coastal resource use, provides support to resource management planning as well. This support is delivered through both direct programme funding and through our Call for Proposals for non-state actors. This section provides examples of our support for management initiatives and links to relevant resource management projects funded through our call for proposal scheme.
IOC through the call for proposal scheme of the ICZM programme, ReCoMaP, helped fishers in Rodrigues to understand the biodiversity aspect of their lagoon as well as to preserve it from a sustainable management point of view. Grants were awarded to the fishers community to help them in capacity building and training programmes....