Mauritius has the third highest UNDP human development ranking in Africa. Its "four-pillar" economy of sugar, textiles, tourism and financial services has experienced meaningful growth for years, although limited infrastructure and educational shortfalls have placed limits on this. Even with solid economic growth, Mauritius is vulnerable to climatic threats, particularly to sea-level rise, reduced rainfall, and increased and more intense cyclones associated with climate change. These vulnerabilities could set back hard-earned development progress in Mauritius.
Given its naturally precarious small-island developing-state situation, Mauritius had long been actively working to address climatic threats. However, many of the projects it had undertaken were limited in scope and scale and isolated from underlying development, preventing their effects from being widespread, cohesive and sustainable.
The AAP worked to address this by supporting the creation of a comprehensive adaptation strategy with a strong institutional structure, capacity to understand climate data and carry out economic analyses of climate change, and on-the-ground adaptation interventions based upon these analyses, which can be scaled up into large-scale adaptation policies.
The installation of a network of high-performance computers, meteorological stations and weather stations made possible the ongoing acquisition of critically needed climate data, while the training of more than 500 staff from ministries, academia and civil society on the interpretation and application of climate data analysis turned this newfound technological capacity into a fully-fledged climate data analysis system. AAP Mauritius then coordinated with different bodies to apply this information to undertake risk mapping, and to include this knowledge in the Government’s Disaster Risk Reduction Strategic Framework and Action Plan. A communication system was also established so that meteorological information from the network could be shared with farmers in real time, thereby enhancing the efficiency and security of their day-to-day work and livelihoods.
Institutional capacity to formulate comprehensive strategies was supported through the AAP’s work to create a Climate Change Division within the Ministry of Environment and the establishment of working groups in the ministries of water, agriculture, tourism and fisheries. Trainings were conducted on institutional strengthening as well as on the gendered impacts of climate change and the need to mainstream gender in all responses. This engagement resulted in a range of policy adjustments, including to the Capacity Building and Climate Resilient Policies Road Map, the Environment Protection Act, the National Environment Policy and National Food Security Fund Strategic Plan, and the Master Plan for the Water Sector. The AAP also established a coordination and implementation framework to ensure the various policies were implemented cohesively and effectively. Cost-benefit analyses undertaken by the AAP also contributed to this.
We generated a lot of information; a lot of data was compiled and analysed in order to be able to give the message to the highest level of decision- and policy-makers that climate change is a reality in Mauritius. Impacts have been measured and predicted—the island is really vulnerable in a very concrete way. Even the financial impact has been measured and estimated. This information speaks to decision-makers and makes it possible to pass big activities such as climate change legislation.
Jayraj Peroo, AAP Mauritius Project Manager
Interview with AAP Mauritius Project Manager Jayraj Peroo and Marion Fourtune of UNDP Mauritius.
Baobab Coalition Journal article on a permant public information exhibition on climate change established by AAP Mauritius.
Publication by AAP Mauritius on salinity management.
Teachers’ Manual on climate change education created by AAP Mauritius.
Public information flyer on climate change created by AAP Mauritius.