Seychelles Conservation and Climate Adaptation Trust premieres film about first ever global debt swap

Conservation |Author: Rita Joubert-Lawen Edited by: Betymie Bonnelame | July 8, 2024, Monday @ 12:57| 2484 views

The debt swap condition is that Seychelles commits to protecting 30 percent of its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). (Gerard Larose) 

(Seychelles News Agency) - The Seychelles Conservation and Climate Adaptation Trust (SeyCCAT) premiered its documentary about the first-ever global debt swap recently highlighting its successes to better educate the public and international partners. 

The Seychelles Debt-Swap, which was finalised in 2015, began in 2008 when the government, under the leadership of the then President James Michel - who pushed forward the initiative - managed to restructure $21.6 million of its debt to Paris Club on the condition that it commits to protecting 30 percent of its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) by completing and implementing a Marine Spatial Plan.

The debt swap mechanism is an innovative method of debt forgiveness in which a portion of a developing country's foreign debt is forgiven in exchange for a commitment to investments in domestic environmental conservation and sustainability projects.

The buyback initiative was successfully concluded in March 2016 thanks to a concessionary loan from a US-based environmental debt swap NGO, The Nature Conservancy (TNC), and generous grants from a group of international marine conservation foundations.

The key players received a copy of the case study with the CEO of SeyCCAT, Marie-May Jeremie (4th from left) and Minister Joubert (2nd from right). (Seychelles Nation) Photo License: CC-BY

As a result of the debt-swap initiative, SeyCCAT was also established to purchase and restructure the debt the country has accumulated. The non-profit trust fund was set up to oversee and manage this initiative, which ultimately led to investments in ocean stakeholders in Seychelles. Its main objectives encompass education, bold actions, and sustainable blue prosperity.

The premiere was held at Eden Bleu Hotel on Friday with representatives from various non-governmental organisations and those involved in conservation in the country.

In his address for the occasion, the Minister for Agriculture, Climate Change and Environment, Flavien Joubert, said that as Seychelles has been successful in implementing the debt swap, "it has now become a common occurrence for the Seychelles government and SeyCCAT to receive requests from other countries, governments, financial institutions and partners to share the Seychelles' experience, to understand, how they also could embark on such an important journey."

SeyCCAT produced and aired the documentary as it felt it necessary to raise awareness of the lesser-known but revolutionary undertaking achieved under the debt swap.

Among those who took part in the documentary due to their involvement in the debt swap initiative were former Seychelles ambassador to the United Nations, Ronny Jumeau, and former ministers Jean-Paul Adam and Didier Dogley.

A case study was also released together with the documentary with an in-depth written piece that can help replicate our efforts here in Seychelles and beyond.

The documentary will be accessible for public viewing on Friday, July 19, on SeyCCAT's various platforms and will also be aired on the Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation (SBC) television. 

Tags: Marine Spatial Plan, Seychelles Debt-Swap, The Nature Conservancy, United Nations, SeyCCAT


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