Waste management: UN launches Challenge Fund for circular economy businesses in Seychelles

Business |Author: Alisa Uzice Edited by: Betymie Bonnelame | March 28, 2024, Thursday @ 15:45| 5044 views

The Challenge Fund aims to support businesses working towards diverting the volume of waste being landfilled by opting for reuse, recycle, or reduce wastage. (Seychelles Nation)

Entrepreneurs looking to join the value chain in waste management in Seychelles can now apply for a grant under the Challenge Fund, a financing programme developed by the Joint Sustainable Development Goals Fund launched on Thursday.

During her address at the launching ceremony, the United Nations resident coordinator for Seychelles and Mauritius, Lisa Simrique Singh said, "The Challenge Fund aims to support businesses working towards diverting the volume of waste being landfilled by opting for reuse, recycle, or reduce wastage. By promoting these 3Rs, the Fund will help not only in creating new jobs for women, youth and disabled but also reduce the reliance of Seychelles on imports."

The Challenge Fund, which is worth $150,000, will be divided into five small grants of $5,000 and six large grants of $15,000 to $20,000. Applicants can find more information at http://www.mofbe.gov.sc/blue-economy

The selection will include several components and criteria. Singh clarified that "the candidates whose projects are shortlisted for the Challenge Fund will receive training from UNECA and UNFPA during a boot camp to enable them to better their business pitch for the final round of the Challenge Fund, or to other potential financing partners."

This fund is part of a bigger project that aims to promote a circular economy for waste management in Seychelles.

In April 2022, a two-year project entitled "Contributing to establishing an enabling environment to promote sustainable Green and Blue Economy in Mauritius and Seychelles" was awarded by the UN Joint SDG Fund to advance the country's Green and Blue Economy agenda.

In Seychelles, the focus is on solid waste management in line with government priorities, which poses a significant challenge.

The launching ceremony was held on Thursday. (Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY 

The country generates an average amount of 80,000 tonnes of waste annually, with the primary landfill expected to reach full capacity by 2025. Faced with the problem of scarcity of land, the country will need to adopt a sustainable solid waste management system.

To address this problem the Fund will support the government to promote a circular economy to reduce the amount of waste flowing to the landfill along with a financing strategy and strengthen the partnership between the public and private sectors.

The project is being implemented by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), International Labour Organisation (ILO), International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

At the launch, a validation workshop also took place where many stakeholders from different sectors discussed the Seychelles Circular Economy Roadmap and Action Plan.

Singh described the Challenge Fund as a catalyst for innovation in this field, that it will help raise awareness about this concept of circularity to the people and the communities through the award of grants to medium and small enterprises.

"It is obvious that our current take-make-dispose approach to production and consumption is not sustainable. This inefficient approach is pushing our planet to the brink, driving the climate crisis, and depleting the resources we need to support more equitable and thriving communities in the future. Addressing these challenges will require a transformative shift to a circular economy - a system that puts sustainability at its core and where waste becomes input," he added.

"For instance, transitioning to the circular economy can help to reduce global CO2 emissions by more than 80 percent by 2060 and the annual volume of plastics flowing to the oceans by over 80 percent. In addition, the circular economy can be a driver of economic growth with the potential of creating 7 to 8 million new jobs worldwide. Ultimately, it would boost resilience, by lessening the dependence on strategic imports and enhance self-sufficiency," said Singh

Seychelles' Minister for Blue Economy and Fisheries, Jean-Francois Ferrari, emphasised the importance of staying on track.

"As we gather here today, let us lose sight of our ultimate goal – to create a circular economy that fosters sustainability and inclusivity. Through the development of micro, small and medium enterprises, we aim to empower our communities and drive economic growth that leaves no one behind,"  he said.


Tags: Joint Sustainable Development Goals fund, Green and Blue Economy

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