4th March 2015
Following the announcement that the Cap Ternay hotel project will not go ahead, the Citizens Engagement Platform Seychelles (CEPS) has welcomed this decision and wish to thank the President for listening to the voice of civil society.
Following the public meeting held at Port Glaud in November last year, the concerned citizens of CEPS envisioned an alternate future for Cap Ternay which hoped to enhance rather than endanger its assets. It was envisioned that the site should not only remain protected, but also benefit from active and strategic terrestrial restoration in order that its value as a series of fully functional ecosystems, and an inspiring educational and recreational reserve may be fully realised, and preserved.
In line with this, through CEPS Environment and Natural Resources Commission, the platform engaged its membership in a project to protect and enhance the viability of the Baie Ternay Marine Park, an area of exceptional value for biodiversity conservation.
The Marine Park has been in existence for 35 years and a range of research projects carried out in the area during that period had indicated the extent of existing marine resources and ecosystem types that were likely to be destroyed by the proposed hotel development project. In consultation with ten different environment NGOs the Commission for Environment and Natural Resources of the Citizens Engagement Platform, Seychelles (CEPS) published a Scoping Report as part of raising concerns and questions with regard to this project, on behalf of its members and affiliates.
In December of 2014, CEPS through its Environment Commission organised a meeting to decide on a strategy for continued advocacy regarding the Cap Ternay development project.
Information was given out and views of civil society organizations on this issue were gathered, enabling the platform to take a position which would be presented to the government. It was also agreed that the platform launch an information campaign aimed at:
• Building awareness, with the Developers, Government Officials, and the local, regional and international communities, about the extraordinary nature of Cap Ternay in order to enlist their support for its protection, restoration, and valorisation.
• Propose alternate scenarios which should allow for the Developers to proceed with their project in a less biologically valuable but equally desirable location for the intended tourism resort.
• Develop an alternative proposal for the valorisation of Cap Ternay in line with the above vision.
In December it had been decided that the campaign be called “An Alternative Vision for Cap Ternay” with the slogan “Cap Ternay – No Way”. The slogan was changed in January 2015 to “Save Bay Ternay Seychelles”.
Funding was sought for the campaign as the Environment & Natural Resources of CEPS lacks funding to sustain an information campaign.
In February, a steering committee was set up to help guide the work of the project and to ensure that it was in line with set objectives. Work undertaken by the Steering Committee included sourcing funds, gathering photos and information on the Cap Ternay flora and fauna, whilst giving visibility to Cap Ternay through a Facebook page under the name “Save Bay Ternay Seychelles”.
As part of building awareness with Government Officials, letters were sent out to the Ministry of Finance, Trade & the Blue Economy, Ministry for Tourism & Culture, Ministry of Land-Use & Housing and Ministry of Environment, Energy & Climate Change.
President James Michel’s announcement on the 26th of February that the project will not take place, means that the CEPS campaign still remains significant, especially when it comes to the protection of the habitats in the Baie Ternay Marine National Park.
CEPS will continue to engage with its members and other stakeholders in indentifying the best development options for the Cap Ternay site. We hope to meet with Government officials to promote alternative future vision for Baie Ternay.
As a platform we are united and engaged as key partners in nation-building, through active dialogue, participation and action.