"Cities and Climate" is the theme chosen by the United Nations to designate this year's Habitat Day. In the Seychelles context, we have adopted "Nou Kominote an fas sanzman klima" as our theme.
Seychelles has been a pioneer in pushing the Climate Change agenda at every opportunity that arises. As a small island developing state, our very existence depends on arresting, indeed reversing, the present trend of green gas emissions.
We need to increase our efforts in finding solutions to mitigate the effects of climate change. No action directed towards that cause should go unnoticed. From the individual who has decided to go solar, to the companies promoting green energy appliances and solutions, all must be congratulated and encouraged.
It is encouraging to note that various initiatives are currently underway. The Wind Farm project on Ile de Romainville and Ile Du Port, the grid-connected rooftop photovoltaic project, the Energy Bill, the La Digue Eco- Capital concept, the review of the Town and Country Planning Act … to name a few, will all play a major part in our aim to mitigate the effects of climate change.
We must continue our efforts to improve water security and reduce the cost of producing and distributing water. I commend the efforts of PUC, the Department of Environment and the various NGO's actively promoting rainwater harvesting amongst our population. We must continue to find innovative ways to promote such initiatives.
Provision of housing remains a priority for my Government. Over the last 5 years we have built over 2000 housing units and assisted close to 600 applicants with a plot of land. The Ile Persévérance project is now a reality; many needy families on our housing application list have found their home there. The Nouvo Zil projects, as showcased during Expo2020, will be initiated with the launch of the first tenders of plots on Ile Soleil in a few months' time.
Government will continue to invest in the wellbeing of its people but a sustainable housing development plan depends on each and every actor in the economy. The need for banks to lend at cheaper rates; contractors performing efficiently; the commitment of the family, whose dream has been realized, towards their housing repayment; and those that are on the waiting list and waiting anxiously for assistance and saving towards their future home … are all key to a sustainable programme.
It is encouraging to note in this context, that the home saving scheme launched 18 months ago has attracted approximately 3000 applicants. This will contribute to accelerating our housing development.
A home is a place of security, a place where a baby is nurtured into a responsible adult, a place where one retires after a hard day's work. It is a haven of peace and tranquillity. We cannot allow the actions of a selfish few to disturb the peace and tranquillity of the majority. We must all stand resolutely against such actions as it is an integral part of the "Moral Renaissance" that we are calling for. The various organizations must better equip themselves with the necessary tools to ensure that our community remains a desirable place to live.
On this Habitat Day, let us all reflect on the state of our housing development, good neighbourliness, the effects of climate change and how we can individually and collectively make our communities better and safer, and ready to face those challenges that confront us.
I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to all the staff of the Ministry of Land Use and Housing, and the Housing Finance Company for their devotion and hard work towards the provision of houses for our people in a safe, healthy and secure environment.
James Alix Michel.
- The United Nations has designated the first Monday of October every year as World Habitat Day. This year, World Habitat Day will be celebrated on 3 October 2011 and the Global Celebration will be hosted by the Government of Mexico. The idea is to reflect on the state of our towns and cities and the basic right of all, to adequate shelter. It is also intended to remind the world of its collective responsibility for the future of the human habitat.
- Activities being organized to celebrate this year's Habitat day;
Various Green Energy Initiatives
Port Victoria Wind Farm
This project will be the first to be put in place as part of the effort to diversify the mix to produce the electricity in the country. It is expected to produce up to 3% of the total electricity needs of the country.
Roof Top Grid tied PV project
A UNDP/GEF/GoS project with the aim of promoting small private (homeowners or businesses) to produce their own electricity with photovoltaic panels. The project will have 3 components which will ensure that the right policies, legislations and institutional mechanisms are put in place to allow these systems to be put on the (PUC) grid.
Solar water heaters
This is a scheme set up by the government to allow people to purchase solar water heaters to replace existing instantaneous electric water heaters.
Waste to Energy
The project will look mainly at sustainable management of waste, while producing electricity as a by product. It is estimated that up to 5% of the country's electricity needs could be provided from this project.
Proposed Energy Bill (Law)
The main aim of the Energy Bill (Law) is to improve the energy security of the country and reduce its vulnerability to external energy shocks (crisis). The Bill will allow for Independent Power Producers to be set up to produce electricity, using renewable energy sources, and then sell the electricity to PUC. Under the law, there will be a revision to the PUC as a company, whereby, it will remain as the sole distributer of electricity in Seychelles, but not the sole producer of electricity.
The law will also see the proper establishment of an energy regulator.
La Digue Eco-capital concept
La Digue has been designated as the Eco Capital of the world by the President and as part of this concept, it is proposed that all of the islands energy needs will be produced with clean energy technologies, such as solar, wind and biomass/biogas. The transportation sector will be fully converted to electric cars,
As part of the effort to improve water security and reduce the cost of producing and transportation of water, a campaign to collect and use more rain water is being promoted. This is especially critical for the island of La Digue, where about 50% of the water is produced by desalination plants, which consumes quite a bit of electricity.