AfrAsia Foundation reinforces its commitment to the ecosystem conservation by contributing MUR 1.3 million to the SOS Mangrove Programme
Joining forces with the NGO Reef Conservation, the AfrAsia Foundation marked the International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem this Monday 26 July by donating approximately MUR 1.3M to the NGO to finance the SOS Mangrove Programme.
This project by Reef Conservation is in line with the action plan initiated after the Wakashio disaster and constitutes the third phase of the Foundation’s ecological initiative to reinforce its commitment to the community and the Mauritian ecosystem.
The MV Wakashio bulk carrier spilled more than 1,000 tones of ultra-low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO) into the Indian Ocean, 2 km off the coast of Mauritius. The impacted area represents a key environmental and economic centre for Mauritius including a marine park, two marine reserves and an internationally protected area at Pointe d'Esny. Being one of the largest remaining wetlands in Mauritius, home to critically endangered endemic plant species, the mangrove ecosystem at Pointe d'Esny was designated a Ramsar site in 2011. Despite all efforts, the oil spill has impacted more than 30 km of Mauritian coastline so far and about 95 ha of mangroves.
Reef Conservation immediately responded to the oil spill by conducting visual surveys at 15 mangrove sites from Blue Bay to Trou d'Eau Douce and assisted in the development of long-term monitoring protocols with local and international team of experts to assess the collateral damages and provide essential ecological functions and ecosystem services. Through the SOS Mangrove Programme, the NGO aims at delivering long-term monitoring and education, and investigating the means and possibilities of restoring the mangrove forests in Mauritius. The programme also takes into account the awareness of the population about the importance of these plants.
“The contribution made by the AfrAsia Foundation is fundamental. With these funds, we will succeed in integrating the community in this innovative initiative, generating the citizen science application for data collection on mangrove. But most importantly, we will have the opportunity to promote our research on mangroves in Mauritius. We are striving to preserve mangroves and raise awareness about this critically fragile ecosystem. These are the heart of the ambitious SOS Mangrove programme”, commented Francois Baguette, Research Team Leader at Reef Conservation
To achieve these goals, AfrAsia Foundation donated MUR 1,305,660.87 to finance the activities and scientific equipment of the project. The start of the "SOS Mangrove" Programme is foreseen for the end of July 2021 until December 2022, in line with the "International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem".
“ Mangroves play a crucial role in the preservation of marine biodiversity and the prevention of coastal erosion. The MV Wakashio oil spill was an unprecedented ecological disaster last year. As a responsible Bank, we feel compelled to contribute to the research and awareness programme relating to the Mauritian ecosystem through the AfrAsia Foundation. Keeping the SDGs in mind, our aim is to reinforce the importance of preserving the marine fauna and flora in Mauritius. This is vital to sustain the unique costal habitat of our Island and support the livelihoods of local communities.”, highlighted Alvin Peerthy, Head of Sustainability & CSR at AfrAsia Bank.