Matthew Morgan / Island Conservation Society

World - Seychelles Champions Coastal Wetlands in Climate Commitments

Seagrass at heart of the country’s next steps to protect the ocean

Situated almost 1,000 miles off the East African coast, the 115 islands that form the Seychelles archipelago contain one of the largest and most biologically diverse marine ecosystems on the planet. Endangered dugongs, turtles, sharks, and a wealth of other marine life inhabit these rich waters.

The people of Seychelles, or Seychellois, have long recognized the importance of protecting their seas, both for this biological diversity and for the ocean’s role in sustaining people and livelihoods. Seychelles was one of the first countries to commit to protecting at least 30% of its own waters—encompassing innovative conservation finance models such as “debt for nature swap” and blue bonds—and is now at the forefront of international negotiations to agree upon a global target of protecting 30% of the world’s ocean.

Today, the country is embarking on its latest chapter in ocean leadership: protecting coastal wetlands such as seagrass within its next nationally determined contribution (NDC) in order to help deliver on the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Every five years parties to the Paris Agreement submit updated domestic commitments to combat climate change through an NDC. Coastal wetlands such as seagrass, mangrove, and saltmarsh ecosystems are currently the only nature-based marine solutions that can measurably contribute to a country’s emissions reductions, as recognized by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s methodologies.

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