Master's project in Seychelles featured on UNFCCC
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) featured the master’s project, "Improving Climate Resilience in Seychelles: Evaluating the impacts of sea level rise and storm surge on Seychelles’ critical infrastructure" on the front page of their site.The Class of 2020 team completed the work initiated by former classmates Harold Rice, Brett Rolf, Jacob Rumschlag, Yuhan Wang, and Daniel Xie, who earned their degrees at SEAS in 2019. This year's team members were Lisa Maillard, Tonya Summerlin, and Annalisa Wilder. Their faculty advisor was Dr. Avik Basu.
GRADUATE STUDENTS FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN UNDERTAKE ACTIONS TO "IMPROVE CLIMATE RESILIENCE IN THE SEYCHELLES"
Outcomes of a partnership with the University of Michigan in the context of the Lima Adaptation Knowledge Initiative (LAKI)
Graduate students from the University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability, a Nairobi Work Programme (NWP) partner, undertook a graduate research project focusing on evaluating the impacts of sea level rise and storm surge on critical infrastructure in the Seychelles. The students worked closely with the Seychelles Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change, National Bureau of Statistics, and Department of Risk and Disaster Management. The project was undertaken in two phases: The first phase was undertaken by four students in 2018–2019, and the second by three students in 2019–2020.
The students developed: a Climate Scenario Planning Toolkit that describes five future climate scenarios for the Seychelles to help decision makers plan for a variety of plausible futures. In addition, the students also produced a Summary for Policy Makers, geographic information system maps and a final report on the project.
The students took the physical hazard, exposure and vulnerability analyses from the first phase and incorporated social vulnerability indicators in order to identify areas of Seychelles that may have low adaptive capacity combined with significant physical exposure to sea level rise and storm surge. They then conducted stakeholder interviews in the Seychelles to consult the end users of the proposed deliverables of the project and to familiarize themselves with the local context.
A total of 21 Geographic Information System data layers, including the location of infrastructure, sea level rise projections, information on vulnerability to storm surge and social indicators, have been published on the Partnership for Resilience and Preparedness online data-sharing platform. The outputs of the project will be shared with the Government of the Seychelles and other local knowledge users. You can also check the outputs here.
Sophie Morgan, Senior Policy Analyst for Water & Climate Change at Seychelles' Ministry of Environment, Energy, & Climate Change noted,"The work conducted by the University of Michigan students addressed a critical need in Seychelles being Seychelles specific climate modelling and risk maps which will support national policy and planning decisions towards adapting and mitigating towards the changing climate. The students listened to our needs and challenges and were able to create a tool simple enough for us to use without the need for additional training."
This collaboration with the University of Michigan is one of the several initiatives under the NWP focused at bridging adaptation knowledge gaps in countries and regions in the context of the LAKI. The graduate students bring a multidisciplinary skills set and willingness to learn and apply their skills, often using innovative approaches to address the knowledge gaps. These partnerships with universities have demonstrated the potential to be not only replicated in other subregions in the context of LAKI but also expanded to other work areas of the NWP.
News Image: A group of local fishermen push a small fishing boat ashore in Glacis, the Seychelles.