“Cities and Climate” is the theme chosen by the United Nations to designate this year’s Habitat Day [October 3]. In the Seychelles context, we have adopted “Nou Kominote an fas sanzman klima” as our theme.
Seychelles has been a pioneer in pushing the climate change agenda at every opportunity that arises. As a small island developing state, our very existence depends on arresting, indeed reversing, the present trend of green gas emissions.
We need to increase our efforts in finding solutions to mitigate the effects of climate change. No action directed towards that cause should go unnoticed. From the individual who has decided to go solar, to the companies promoting green energy appliances and solutions, all must be congratulated and encouraged.
It is encouraging to note that various initiatives are currently underway. The Wind Farm project on Ile de Romainville and Ile Du Port, the grid-connected rooftop photovoltaic project, the Energy Bill, the La Digue Eco-Capital concept, the review of the Town and Country Planning Act, to name a few, will all play a major part in our aim to mitigate the effects of climate change.
We must continue our efforts to improve water security and reduce the cost of producing and distributing water. I commend the efforts of PUC, the Department of Environment, and the various NGOs actively promoting rainwater harvesting amongst our population. We must continue to find innovative ways to promote such initiatives.
Provision of housing remains a priority for my government. Over the last 5 years, we have built over 2,000 housing units and assisted close to 600 applicants with a plot of land. The Ile Persévérance project is now a reality; many needy families on our housing application list have found their home there. The Nouvo Zil projects, as showcased during Expo2020, will be initiated with the launch of the first tenders of plots on Ile Soleil in a few months’ time.
Government will continue to invest in the wellbeing of its people, but a sustainable housing development plan depends on each and every actor in the economy. The need for banks to lend at cheaper rates; contractors performing efficiently; the commitment of the family, whose dream has been realized, towards their housing repayment; and those that are on the waiting list and waiting anxiously for assistance and saving towards their future home are all key to a sustainable program.
It is encouraging to note in this context, that the home-saving scheme launched 18 months ago has attracted approximately 3,000 applicants. This will contribute to accelerating our housing development.
A home is a place of security, a place where a baby is nurtured into a responsible adult, a place where one retires after a hard day’s work. It is a haven of peace and tranquillity. We cannot allow the actions of a selfish few to disturb the peace and tranquility of the majority. We must all stand resolutely against such actions as it is an integral part of the “Moral Renaissance” that we are calling for. The various organizations must better equip themselves with the necessary tools to ensure that our community remains a desirable place to live.
On this Habitat Day, let us all reflect on the state of our housing development, good neighborliness, the effects of climate change, and how we can individually and collectively make our communities better and safer, and ready to face those challenges that confront us.
I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to all the staff of the Ministry of Land Use and Housing, and the Housing Finance Company, for their devotion and hard work towards the provision of houses for our people in a safe, healthy, and secure environment.
– James Alix Michel