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Forming unique alliances to help Seychelles adapt to a changing climate

February 20, 2019

By Christophe Leroy

To share knowledge and help build capacities in weather mapping, we helped establish a rare type of collaboration between the private Meteo France and the public Seychelles Meteorological Authority

The Global Climate Change Alliance+ (GCCA+) is the second installment of a worldwide initiative by the European Union that facilitates the global sharing of knowledge around climate change. This topic holds grave importance as many continue to suffer from rises in sea level, accelerated coastal erosion, temperature increases and other weather changes.

As part of the GCCA+ program, a project was created for the Seychelles which aims to build the country’s ability to adapt to and develop resilience to climate change and its harmful effects by organizing workshops and bringing people together to help with the implementation of the Seychelles Climate Change Strategy in order to strengthen the climate change policy framework. A great project, with its own very specific challenges.

Boosting skills of local meteorologists, with specialist help from Meteo France

One of these challenges is bringing in knowledgeable parties, who can share the most relevant of experiences with the local stakeholders. In 2018, the Seychelles Meteorological Authority (SMA) sought support from our project to strengthen its capacity on seasonal forecasting and climate modelling. For requests such as these, the most common solution used by us as consulting company, would be to recruit an international, independent consultant to provide this expertise. While this can offer good capacity building support, we know from experience that for a lasting impact and crucial insights into the specific field realities, it can be advantageous to look locally for specialists as well. We have a strong conviction that whenever possible, the most impactful technical assistance comes from linking institutions; allowing the two parties to build extensive and long-lasting partnerships.

When it comes to seasonal forecasting and climate modeling, Meteo France’s expertise is renowned globally. And with an office on the island of Reunion, the institution has specific experience from within the region, which faces similar challenges and situations throughout. This made Meteo France La Réunion the most relevant actor for implementing the GCCA+ mission to the SMA.

However, public-private collaborations are rare. And for understandable reasons. Organizations like these, although comparable in expertise, function differently. They do have mutual constraints, but both have a lack of awareness of where these constraints are on the other side. Taking these into account, our project team led by project manager Anaëlle Martini, set out to try and find a place to collaborate. And we succeeded, by finding the right people to connect and delivering a clear outlook for the expected results from the collaboration. The cooperation came to fruition in two experts from Meteo France conducting 10 days of training for SMA staff, divided into two sessions, where they outlined their experience in weather mapping, climate change and seasonal forecast issues and operating statistical analysis. It helped identifying main climate drivers for Seychelles. The second session, putting in practice the theories taught during the first training, was fundamental for capacity building. A manual is also being produced to help support sustainable outcomes from the trainings.

Thanks to this unique partnership, better early warning services and improved sectoral planning and policy development will be therefore created by sectoral ministries from across the Seychelles government. We are proud to have been involved in the process and to see that by creating a link between these two institutions, both sides benefit. Identifying and building strategic partnerships is the key to the success of this great project.

  • Christophe Leroy

    A proven leader in the market, Christophe calls on his more than 15 years of experience in the aid donors environment to lead our international development division in Belgium.

    Contact Christophe
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