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The European Union further contributes to the sustainable development of Small Island Developing States in the Eastern and Southern Africa-Indian Ocean region

By European Union
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BRUSSELS, Kingdom of Belgium, December 6, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Today, the European Union (EU) signed an agreement with the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) for a grant of 470 000 euros (approximately 19 million Mauritian rupees) to assist Small Island Developing States of the Eastern and Southern Africa-Indian Ocean region (ESA-IO) in implementing the Mauritius Strategy for sustainable development. Small Island States of the ESA-IO region, as in many other regions, are economically and environmentally vulnerable. Therefore, they need the appropriate institutional coordination mechanism to implement a sustainable development strategy.

"The SIDS Unit of UN DESA has a mandate to coordinate and monitor work related to the implementation of the Mauritius Strategy for all SIDS of the world, and is the logical partner of the EU and Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) for the design and implementation of a Monitoring & Evaluation system. The EU grant will reinforce the EU-UN-IOC partnership and enable us to continue joining forces for the sustainable development of the SIDS of the region", said Mr. Alessandro Mariani, Ambassador, Head of the EU Delegation to Mauritius, for the Seychelles and for the Union of Comoros.

The EU grant amounts to 470 000 euros (approximately 19 million Mauritian rupees) and covers the development of a Monitoring and Evaluation system for the implementation of the Mauritius Strategy for SIDS and its implementation at national, regional and international levels. The Mauritius Strategy, which was adopted in 2005, identified twenty priority areas for Small Island Developing States development ranging from environment, climate change, and disaster preparedness to transport and energy.

The Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) system to be designed and implemented with the support of UN DESA will benefit the ESA-IO region and SIDS worldwide, and will therefore represent a central element for the monitoring of the implementation of the Mauritius Strategy. The EU grant will help in tracking progress of SIDS of the region towards sustainable development and assess the impact of policies. The SIDS Unit of the UN DESA, which is based in New York, will mobilise international experts and local experts to the region for activities, including pilot projects, which will span over 2 years.

The Agreement with UNDESA is part of an overall programme titled "Support for the Implementation of the Mauritius Strategy for SIDS". The programme amounts to 10 million euros, is financed by the European Union and managed by the Indian Ocean Commission with which the EU already has a longstanding and very fruitful cooperation. The programme covers the islands of the ESA-IO region including Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles and Zanzibar of the United Republic of Tanzania. Reunion Island (France) which is the 5th Member State of the IOC will participate in the programme but will not be a beneficiary of the programme funded by the European Union. The programme will pave the way for SIDS of the ESA-IO region towards the Rio+20 (Earth Summit 2012) for sustainable development. It will build on lessons learned from the Caribbean and the Pacific regions as well as on programmes implemented under the Global Climate Change Alliance, funded by the European Union, from which Mauritius and Seychelles already benefit.

Apart from the M&E system, activities of the SIDS programme will focus on establishing best practices in mitigating vulnerability of SIDS in key areas such as coral reef, disaster insurance scheme, sustainable development and climate change as well as developing mechanisms to attract investment in the region. The actions will be coordinated by the IOC, with support of technical expertise, and will be closely monitored at national level by focal points and thematic working groups.