Climate change is one of the most critical global challenges of our times. There is compelling evidence that small states and Least Developed Countries are suffering from the impacts of climate change in a disproportionate way, thus reversing their progress on poverty alleviation, economic growth and stability and their ability to meet the sustainable development goals.

This statement was made this morning by the Minister of Ocean Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping, Mr Premdut Koonjoo, at the opening of the closing workshop of the Marine Science for Management (MASMA) funded Project Emerging knowledge for local adaptation funded by the Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA). The workshop is being held at the Mauritius Oceanography Institute (MOI) in Albion.

Minister Koonjoo pointed out that in view of the ecological, social and economic impacts of climate change on fisheries and the growing vulnerability of ocean ecosystems, coastal biodiversity and communities, it is imperative to meet the challenges of climate variability.

He emphasised that Government is determined to strengthen scientific climate research in collaboration with the neighbouring states development partners. Mauritius, he said, is also promoting extensive and ongoing climate research as well as focusing on climate monitoring and mitigation measures of the impacts of climate change.

The Minister concluded by appealing to all stakeholders to step up efforts in strengthening governance structures and to use emerging knowledge on coastal vulnerability for effective planning and implementation.

For her part, the Director of the MOI, Dr Ruby Moothien-Pillay, highlighted that the impacts of climate change differ in different continents and regions around the world. She pointed out that Africa is the most vulnerable due to its low adaptation capacity to climate change. According to the Global Climate Risk Index, Mauritius is ranked 14th as regards its disaster risk and is the 7th most exposed to natural hazards, she added.

She underscored the importance of giving due attention to local governments and understand the challenges they face when dealing with climate change. The workshop, she underlined, comes at an opportune time since it will build capacity of local government to optimise the use of the acquired knowledge in the implementation of projects.

MASMA project

The project aims to develop strategies to extend the impact of emerging knowledge relating to coastal vulnerability to enable local government and communities to use knowledge in order to facilitate adaptation and build resilience to climate change.

The specific objectives of the project are to assess the type and readiness of emerging knowledge on coastal vulnerability to inform and guide climate change adaptation at local government level; and evaluate the current capacity of local government and governance structures to use emerging knowledge on coastal vulnerability to inform adaptation and build resilience.

Participants will be called upon to devise strategies and make recommendations to strengthen knowledge management systems to generate, manage and disseminate knowledge relating to vulnerability to climate change to local government, with a particular focus on how this knowledge can be successfully taken up by local government.

Source: Government of Mauritius