Green Recovery activities have officially begun in Mauritius, with a launch ceremony held on 17 June. With PAGE technical support and funding via the German government, the programme has been designed to support national economic recovery efforts from COVID-19 impacts, building on the results of PAGE’s four-year presence in Mauritius, informing policy development, fostering national ownership and strengthening national capacities in sustainable agriculture and food systems. Key objectives include improving the business environment and developing incentives to promote a sustainable agro-food industry and the expansion of small and medium-sized enterprises in that sector.
The project will support macroeconomic modeling to help predict the creation of green jobs in the agro-food sectors and assess the impacts of economic recovery on the sectors. It will also create a diagnostic and rapid assessment toolkit to increase public and private funding for nature-based solutions and smart agriculture that will support sustainable food systems. The project will then help develop short production circuits, in part by informing the Government’s farm-to-fork strategy, and will build the capacity of private firms in the hospitality and food sectors on new food safety management protocols.
The launch gathered over 130 online and in-person participants and a following meeting took place between relevant stakeholders to plan the next steps of the PAGE project, to prepare for the subsequent sessions of the dialogue on food systems, and to plan for a series of knowledge exchanges on the Green Recovery. A first consultation session on food waste was also conducted.
“We need cross-sector efforts both to recover from the pandemic—which has affected people, economies and the environment—and to address the impact of climate change and pollution. To achieve this, we need to collaborate among international development partners, the private sector, academia, civil society, and communities. The pandemic has also highlighted vulnerabilities around food security and in response, the UN is running a global dialogue on how to improve food systems. The results of national food systems dialogue will hence inform a global Food Systems Summit held in September to agree on solutions that takes all voices into account. The Green Recovery Fund project and the national dialogue on food systems that are being launched today aim to provide appropriate responses to some of these issues.”, said Her Excellency Ms. Christine N Umutoni, United Nations Resident Coordinator for Mauritius and the Seychelles, during the launching ceremony.
“The online discussions, she added, aim to bring in partners from the western Indian Ocean Islands of Mauritius, Seychelles, Madagascar and Comoros, because no nation can recover alone. We must have a community-of-nations-approach to achieve sustainable development.”
The Ministery for Agro-industry and Food Security will implement activities through the Food and Agriculture Research and Extension Institute (FAREI). The Ministry, FAREI, the PAGE team and the United Nations system will also collaborate with other ministries, international development partners, civil society and the private sector to promote national and regional knowledge sharing and to develop joint initiatives on multisectoral recovery that promote resilience, social inclusion and sustainability. These activities will include regional collaboration between Mauritius, Seychelles, Madagascar, Comoros and of the Reunion Island.
Under the leadership of the Ministry of Agro-Industry and Food Security, the team will organize regular events, starting with a first exchange on the elements of a Green Recovery supported under the PAGE project in Mauritius (on June 18), followed by a series of regular meetings on specific themes related to a green recovery (e.g., how to finance recovery and climate change adaptation, how to promote multi-stakeholder participation, or how to link a green recovery with long-term climate action). In tandem, development partners will coordinate the policy and programmatic support to the Government.
“Our investment is as much institutional as it is personal,” said the Minister of Agro Industry and Food Security, the Honorable Maneesh Gobin. “I am very pleased with the support provided by the United Nations, in response to the vision I set out a little over a year ago, in the midst of the global COVID-19 crisis, which was that we needed to get organized to produce more of what we consume and to consume what we produce.”