Improving Climate Resilience in Seychelles: Evaluating the impacts of sea level rise and storm surge on Seychelles’ critical infrastructure
In response to greenhouse gas emissions and global warming, oceans are projected to experience climate feedbacks, unavoidable changes spanning decades and millennia, and thresholds of abrupt change. Small islands and communities closely connected to coastal environments are particularly exposed to ocean changes, such as sea level rise and storm surges. The Republic of Seychelles, an archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, is facing unprecedented threats to its livelihood and development as a result of climate change. This research aims to incorporate Seychelles’ physical and socioeconomic vulnerabilities with climate scenarios to determine the potential impacts of climate change on Seychelles’ critical infrastructure, ultimately providing end users with information to enhance adaptation decision-making. Researchers conducted stakeholder interviews to characterize critical infrastructure in the local context, created GIS maps to illustrate vulnerabilities, and developed climate scenarios to understand plausible climate impacts in Seychelles. An iterative dialogue with stakeholders in Seychelles determined the format of the deliverables, including GIS maps, a memo for policymakers, a climate scenario-building toolkit, and a final research report. The researchers found Seychelles’ utilities, transportation, fisheries, and tourism industries to be at high risk. Suggestions for mitigating risk and adapting these sectors were provided by the researchers. The geographic location at greatest risk is the coastal plain lining the main island of Mahé, including the capital city of Victoria. Accompanying sea level rise and storm surges, flooding, coral bleaching, and droughts are driving climate risk in Seychelles. With this information, end users can prioritize adaptation action and enhance resilient development in Seychelles by anticipating particular climate changes and the associated impacts.
Lisa Maillard, MS (BEC); Tonya Summerlin, MS (EPP); Annalisa Wilder, MS (EPP, EJ), MPP (International Economic Development)