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23 September 2022

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Celebrating eight years of partnership

After eight years, PAGE’s core engagement in Mauritius is coming to an end. PAGE UN agencies and national partners held a PAGE Transition Ceremony. Held on 21 and 22 September in Port-Louis (Mauritius), the ceremony marked the opening of greater opportunities for Mauritius in sustaining its achievements towards an inclusive green economy.

The Transition Ceremony was an opportunity to showcase PAGE Mauritius work since 2014 and present the PAGE Mauritius Sustainability Plan. The sustainability plan highlights the key results achieved through PAGE support at the three PAGE outcome levels: National Policymaking, Sectoral and Thematic Reform, and Strengthening Capacity, which outline various means of sustaining the achievement and bringing impact at scale. The Sustainability Plan has since been revised, in 2021 and 2022, to reflect most recent progress of the country’s initiatives towards an IGE, and what could be further actions to achieve sustainability.

Several breakout sessions were organized on thematic sectors, to encourage and allow stakeholders to participate and share good practices, challenges, and future opportunities. High representatives from the Mauritian Government, the United Nations and development partners attended the event.

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 the European Union (EU) Delegation to Mauritius, Mr Vincent Degert; and other dignitaries 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.

Mr Gobin stressed that the Ministry of Agro-Industry and Food Security has fully collaborated in the activities namely: International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Activity for the promotion of Green Jobs; United Nations Industrial Development Organization’s activity for boosting agro-processing; ILO Operation Covid-19 Occupational Safety and Health and Resource Efficiency (COSHARE) activity in view of ensuring COVID-19 safety and Resource Efficiency; and UNRCO Knowledge Exchange sessions meant for sharing and learning.

These initiatives, he underlined, helped in fostering economic growth, create income, reduce poverty and inequality, and strengthen the ecological foundations of the economy as well as enhance the capacity building of Mauritius towards its transition to an inclusive green economy at the macro-economic multi sectorial level.

In addition, Minister Gobin emphasised that the COVID-19 pandemic and the war between Russia and Ukraine have awakened the world to focus on the need to produce more of what we consume and to consume what we produce. In this context, he added that his Ministry is working in close collaboration with farmers and cooperatives to implement good farming practices.

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.

The Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE) aims to put sustainability at the heart of economic policymaking.  PAGE is the expertise and mandate of five UN agencies; UNEP, UNDP, ILO, UNIDO, and UNITAR, whose expertise and support assist and lead PAGE partner countries towards their transition to an Inclusive Green Economy (IGE) by providing policy advice, assessments, capacity development and analytical tools outputs. Currently, there are 22 PAGE partner countries, Cambodia and Rwanda joined in 2022.

Sources: PAGE / Le matinal / Gis
Photo credits: PAGE / Gis

 

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