The phase 2 of the Switch Africa Green Programme, was launched yesterday at the seat of the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development in Port-Louis. In this context, a grant amounting to nearly EUR 1.2 Million was awarded to the Mauritius Tourism Authority (MTA) by the European Union (EU) under the programme.

The Minister of Tourism, Mr. Anil Gayan, the Minister of Social Security, National Solidarity, and Environment and Sustainable Development, Mr. Etienne Sinatambou and the Ambassador of the European Union to Mauritius, Mrs Marjaana Sall, were present.

The financing grant will help the MTA implement the project, 'Improving sustainable tourism in Mauritius through greening the value chain of tour operators' aimed at supporting tour operators to adopt sustainable, innovative and smart actions to improve the sustainability of their business.

In his address, Minister Sinatambou highlighted that as a Small Island Developing State, Mauritius is vulnerable to exogenous factors such as natural disasters and climate change. He emphasised that a shift to sustainable lifestyle is a prerequisite to achieving sustainable development and to contribute significantly to mitigate the effects of climate change.

Speaking about the alarming consequences of climate change, the Minister stressed on the need of gearing our thinking towards adaption measures along with mitigation measures, adding that 8 more critical sites have been recently added to the 13 critical sites identified in 2015.

Government, he said, is conscious that resource efficiency and sustainability are among key elements that need to be harnessed to build resilience in order to limit negative impacts of global challenges. In its endeavour to meet its sustainable development objectives and in particular the Nationally Determined Contribution, Government has adopted the formulation and implementation of successive policies and strategies in key sectors, added the Minister.

Minister Sinatambou observed that the financial and technical support of development partners such as the EU are critical to enable the quantum leap to the greening of the country's economy, wherein the support provided by the EU will certainly help Mauritius meet its international commitments with regards to attaining Sustainable Development Goals.

As for Minister Gayan, he highlighted the imperative need for decision-makers to protect and preserve the environment. He pointed out that Government seeks to project the country as a green and clean destination and in this regard various initiatives are being spearheaded to foster sustainability.

The Minister recalled that his Ministry will support tourism enterprises in their drive to be environmentally compliant while undertaking their activities so that there is no long lasting impact on the environment. He pointed out that various tourist enterprises are complying to sustainable practices such as the standards of the eco-label MS 165: 2014 ,other practices such as ecological and energy saving and waste minimisation measures.

As for the Ambassador of the EU, she underlined that the tourism sector has largely contributed to the economic growth of the country, emphasising that Mauritius needs to tackle the global challenges with regards to the environment and sustainable development changes. She added that sustainable development, the environment and climate change issues are at the core of the EU's external relations.

Ambassador Marjaana Sall further added that the green economy has become a key strategic priority for all Governments and it features prominently in the EU programmes and strategies. According to her, the Switch Africa Green Programme offers significant opportunity to Mauritius to fulfil its green destination target by promoting sustainable tourism along with environmental changes, ideals that EU clearly subscribes to.

Source: Government of Mauritius