This island nation just traded a huge chunk of its debt in return for protecting their oceans
The full article by Amelia Urry was originally written for Grist.
The Seychelles, a small island nation in the Indian Ocean, did something pretty big.
Last month, the country of 115 islands agreed to protect 30 percent of their ocean territory, and in return a foreign investor group, the Paris Club, will cancel $30 million of Seychelles’ debt.
It’s quite a deal, and it comes with big potential perks for the planet. Marine reserves are one of the major ways we’ve seen countries take action to protect their natural resources in recent years. The 154,000 square miles of ocean named in the Seychelles deal will be protected, with a large area designated as a no-fishing zone, which means fish will get bigger and more abundant, while sensitive habitats like coral reefs will be protected from some damaging fishing practices. It will be the second-largest marine reserve in the Indian Ocean.
Here’s more lingo, from the Nature Conservancy, who brokered the deal:
All benefits supported by the debt restructuring will support adaptation to climate change through improved management of coasts, coral reefs, and mangroves. The financing will promote implementation of a Marine Spatial Plan for the entire Seychelles Exclusive Economic Zone, a territory approximately 3,000 times the size of their land mass. The deal will also ensure approximately 400,000 km2/98.9 million acres (an area larger than the size of Germany) will be managed for conservation as marine protected areas (MPAs) within five years.