After eight years of partnership, the Partnership for Action on Green Economy’s (PAGE) core engagement in Mauritius is coming to an end. In this context, PAGE United Nations (UN) agencies and national partners, held, on Wednesday afternoon at the Caudan Arts Centre in Port Louis, a PAGE transition ceremony to facilitate continued long-term action towards building an Inclusive Green Economy.
The two-day event marks the opening of a new era for Mauritius in sustaining its achievements towards a green economy and will include several breakout sessions on thematic sectors to encourage and allow stakeholders to participate and share good practices, challenges and future opportunities.
The Minister of Industrial Development, SMEs and Cooperatives, Mr Soomilduth Bholah; the Minister of Environment, Solid Waste Management and Climate Change, Mr Kavydass Ramano; the Attorney General, Minister of Agro-Industry and Food Security, Mr Maneesh Gobin; the UN Resident Coordinator for Mauritius and Seychelles, Ms Christine Umutoni; the Ambassador and Head of Delegation of the European Union (EU) in Mauritius, Mr Vincent Degert; as well as other personalities were present on the occasion.
In his address, Minister Gobin recalled that the Government of Mauritius and PAGE had embarked in a partnership in order to enhance capacity building for the economic recovery of the country from the COVID-19 pandemic as well as to improve the economic resilience and build social inclusiveness of the country.
Furthermore, he indicated that the Ministry of Agro-Industry and Food Security endorsed the PAGE proposal on behalf of the Government of Mauritius in November 2020 and that funding to the tune of 300 000 USD from the UN Resident Coordinator Office (UNRCO) was earmarked for the implementation of green recovery activities which started since January 2021.
For their part, Ministers Bholah and Ramano highlighted that since Mauritius joined the PAGE initiative in the mid-2014, the country has been benefitting from different projects at the level of several Ministries and institutions adding that the UN PAGE Agencies have provided Mauritius with valuable skills and knowledge to achieve green targets at different levels of development and in key sectors of the economy namely agriculture, tourism, manufacturing and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
Minister Bholah dwelt on some of the important contributions PAGE realised in collaboration with his Ministry in their journey towards a sustainable and inclusive industrial sector. These are: Industrial Waste Assessment project implemented from February 2016 to September 2017; ‘Greening the SMEs: Improving SME Access to Green Finance in Mauritius’ project implemented specifically for the SMEs; SCORE (Sustaining Competitive and Responsible Enterprises) Programme implemented between November 2019 to February 2020; and Operation COSHARE realised from September 2021 to June 2022.
Minister Ramano stressed that the work carried out by PAGE will serve as a lever to build on and scale-up action integrating sustainability in key sectors and facilitate the transition to a green and circular development paradigm. “It is imperative that we opt for a ‘transition écologique’ and I am convinced that the threats that the country is facing as a Small Island Developing State can be translated into key opportunities through a shift to sustainable production and consumption patterns,” he stressed.
As for Ms Umutoni, she indicated that PAGE along with the Government of Mauritius and other partners have focused on three outcome areas during these eight years of close collaboration. These are: national policy-making; sectoral reform; and strengthening capacity.
On this note, she underscored that this transition ceremony marks the opening of greater opportunities for Mauritius in sustaining its achievements towards a green economy and reiterated that the UN will continue to be a partner as regards green recovery and sustainable development where people, nature and economies can all thrive.
Mr Degert, for his part, underlined that there is an urgent need to make a radical shift from the linear economy model and adopt a circular model which is regenerative and resilient in nature. At the level of the EU, he highlighted, the formulation of policies to accelerate this much needed transition has already started since long.
Mr Degert added that the EU is currently funding some 20 projects in Mauritius in order to catalyse action towards a greener economy, including the SWITCH Africa Green project, a project developed and funded by the EU and managed by UNEP.
Speaking of the transition ceremony, the Ambassador pointed out that it will be an ideal platform to review progress achieved through this partnership between PAGE UN agencies and the Government of Mauritius in addressing challenges, building resilience and assisting in creating the conducive environment for Mauritius to engage in the transition to an inclusive green economy.