Auditor General's overview

The Auditor General can undertake special purpose audits (reviews/investigations) on his own initiative and/or at request from the President or the National Assembly as provided in the Constitution and the Auditor General Act. A special purpose audit looks at a particular issue, system, function, operation, scheme, project, programme or an organisation, either in isolation or in a transversal, cross-cutting manner. The rule of thumb used for selection of the subject matter is 'does it matter to the public'. The purpose of a special audit is to provide objective information on the particular subject matter to those who seek that information. These reports often result in better decision making and positive differences in public institutions. The positive differences in turn result in better service delivery to the public through efficient public administration and cost savings through sound finance management, in other words, better value for the money. These processes help promote good governance, transparency and accountability.

This special review on the Coastal Management of the Seychelles in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030 was part of a project initiated by the African Organization of English Speaking Supreme Audit Institutions (AFROSAI-E), an organization that regroups all English Speaking Supreme Audit Institution on the African Continent. The aim of the project was to identify and bring forth the risk and challenges faced by coastal African nations to effectively manage their coastal areas. A total of six countries participated including the Seychelles and the end product is expected to be a joint report that will highlight the issues identified by these coastal nations.

The review focused on five key areas, namely, Overall Coastal Management, Climate Change, Coastal pollution and Degradation, Coastal Monitoring and Enforcement and Overfishing. Several government ministries, agencies and authorities were involved in this process. We are of the view that to attain the SDG goals and targets effectively, they must be in line with the national policies and strategic documents that a country follows. It was noted that integration of the SDGs into the national plans and polices were well underway as per the result of the RIA assessment conducted in 2017 where 131 of the 143 targets relevant to the Seychelles were mapped into national documents. However, there was a need to address the 12 remaining targets as well as to update and monitor the implementation of these national plans. The review also highlighted the need for more efforts to sensitize the public about the SDGs.

The review noted that although there are various Policies, Acts and Regulations that governs the management of the coastal zones some were outdated and needs revision. Most importantly, however, the review noted that Seychelles does not have an Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) plan which is vital for the sustainable development and management of the coastal zone given the vulnerability of the islands coastal areas. Like other Small Developing Island States, the review identified that Climate Change is a significant threat to our coastal areas leading to coastal degradation amongst other calamity that will have significant impact on our coastline and economy. It was noted that Government has taken proactive steps to address climate change through the development of policies and strategies such as switching from petroleum to renewable energy sources to reduce its Green House Gas emission. However, Audit is of the view that the target for the achievement of the 5% and 15% share of renewable energy by 2020 and 2030 respectively seems to be difficult to achieve unless extra efforts are made.

Pollution along the coast comes from various inland and offshore activities. Audit round kit MEECC were not maintaining proper records of pollution cases. Further, the coastal adaptation projects being implemented to preserve the coastal areas undergoing erosion were reactive and predominantly by the use of hard engineering. There was a need for better planning and management of the various coastal projects whilst abiding to the Procurement Regulations.

In regards to coastal monitoring the review identified that there were various Authorities that conducted the same. The review focused on illegal fishing and noted that there were synergies between SFA and the Coast Guard to apprehend vessels that conduct illegal fishing in our EEZ, however, the need for SFA to maintain proper records on the expenditure they incur on these vessels once apprehended was highlighted and also the need for these and other environmental crimes to be dealt with in a timely manner by relevant Authorities. The fishing industry is key to our economy and the review highlighted the need for better management of both the artisanal and industrial fisheries through the implementation and monitoring of the Fisheries Management Plan, Monitoring and Enforcement of the lobster fisheries as per the Regulation, as well as the need to effectively monitor the Yellow fin landings and transshipment to ensure compliance with IOTC regulation 17/01 towards the preservation of the species.

I hope that this report will be of some use to the National Assembly and policy makers to understand and appreciate the specific national activities of the government related to Coastal Management and achievement of the SDGs 2030, and their consequential impact on the communities across Seychelles.

Gamini Herath
Auditor General

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