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Environmental Crime Legal Framework in Seychelles

Seychelles’ constitution contains provisions for the protection of the environment. For example, Article 38 reads: “The State recognises the right of every person to live in and enjoy a clean, healthy and ecologically balanced environment and with a view to ensuring the effective realization of this right the State undertakes-

  • to take measures to promote the protection, preservation and improvement of the environment
  • to ensure a sustainable socio-economic development of Seychelles by a judicious use and management of the resources of Seychelles;
  • to promote public awareness of the need to protect, preserve and improve the environment”
  • Featured Legislation

    1966: The Wild Animals (Seychelles Pond Turtle) Protection Regulations were passed. These Regulations declare the Seychelles Pond Turtle to be protected throughout Seychelles. No person shall keep, take or kill such turtles or purchase, sell, exhibit for sale, or export any preserved or stuffed Seychelles Pond Turtle. Penalties are prescribed.

    2012: The Energy Act was signed. This Act concerns the control and licensing of electricity generation and distribution. It establishes the Seychelles Energy Commission, the Seychelles Energy Board and provides with respect to renewable energy, energy efficiency and designates the national authority for purposes of the Clean Development Mechanism as defined in Article 12 of Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. It also provides or dispute resolution.

    2014: The Disaster Risk Management Act was approved. This Act concerns disaster risk management in Seychelles. It establishes the Disaster Risk Management Division within the Government and provides with respect to declaration of disasters and response to disasters. The Division shall implement an integrated emergency management and coordination system and carry out all functions related to disaster preparedness, response and mitigation. The Division shall, among other things, prepare a National Disaster Risk Management Plan and Strategy. There is also established a National Disaster Risk Management Committee, a Vulnerability Assessment Committee, a National Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, a National Disaster Risk Management Fund and a National Multi-Hazard Risk Communication Alert, and Warning System for Seychelles.

    2014: The Animal and Plant Biosecurity Act was approved. This Act concerns the prevention of the importation into Seychelles of pests and diseases affecting animals and plants and more in general biosecurity, i.e. a strategic and integrated approach that encompasses the policy and regulatory framework for analyzing and managing relevant risks to animal and plant life and the associated risks to the environment, economy and public health. The Act makes provision for the control of “regulated articles” i.e. which includes, but is not limited to: (a) any animal or animal product; (b) any plant or plant product; (c) any living organism, whether modified or not; (d) soil and garbage; (e) a regulated pest or disease; (f) any invasive alien species. Regulated pest or disease" means a pest or disease, the importation into Seychelles of which is prohibited or restricted by the Regulations.

    2015: The Conservation and Climate Adaptation Trust of Seychelles Act (No. 18 of 2015) was promulgated. This Act establishes the Conservation and Climate Adaptation Trust of Seychelles as a corporate body. It also defines the objects functions and powers of the Trust and provides with respect to its administration. The Trust shall be instrumental in administering debt swap transactions for purposes of supporting the long-term management and expansion of the Seychelles system of protected areas and other activities which contribute substantially to the conservation, protection and maintenance of biodiversity and the adaptation to climate change as identified through consultations with stakeholders. The Trust shall, as long as it receives the debt swap incomes, each year use at least 35 percent of the annual payments received from the debt swap incomes to deposit in the Endowment Fund in order to generate income by investing the Endowment Fund in such appropriate manner as the Board of the Trust may determine. “Debt swap incomes" means the payments received by the Trust in respect of the debt swap transactions (between the Trust and the Seychelles in respect of repayment, rescheduling, forgiveness or cancellation of sovereign debt). The Trust may advise the Government on matters affecting any protected area or eligible protected area.

    2015: The Meteorological Act was brought into force. This Act establishes the Seychelles Meteorological Authority as a body corporate, defines its objectives, functions and powers and provides with respect to its administration. The Authority shall be the sole recognised national service provider on meteorological and climate services in Seychelles. Its functions shall include the monitoring and assessing weather and climate change and issuing alerts of tsunamis and the possible impacts of other geohazards when they are communicated to the Authority by the regional monitoring agencies.

    2016: The Environment Protection Act was ratified. This Act provides with respect to the protection of the environment in Seychelles. It designates the Ministry or Department of the Government under the Minister responsible for the environment as the Ministry for the purposes of this Act and defines its functions and powers. The Act also establishes the National Environmental Advisory Council and provides for prevention, control and abatement of environmental pollution, environmental authorisation and environment impact assessment, enforcement, and some matters of miscellaneous nature.

    2019: The Seychelles Wetlands Policy and Action Plan (2019-2022) was introduced. This new Wetland Policy 2019 – 2022 acknowledges that wetlands are essential for sustainable development and that wise use is paramount. In that sense, it seeks to promote a sustainable management of Seychelles wetlands, in order to improve ecosystem services, to increase resilience to climate change and to deliver biodiversity. The action plan, provides the framework for policy implementation, and captures existing programmes of work, sets ambitious targets and grasps new opportunities such as the involvement and leadership of civil society to manage local resources of national importance. The Purpose of the Wetland Policy is to: 1. provide a basis for the sustainable management of wetland resources in order to provide ecosystem services, increase climate change resilience and enhance biodiversity; 2. drew together diverse legislation and policies to provide a coherent framework for wetland management; and 3. fulfill the country’s commitment to MEAs including, but not limited to, The Ramsar Convention.

    Featured Case Studies: Transnational Environmental Crime, Human Security, and Biosecurity

    • Colloquially referred to as an ecological paradise, the Seychelles is an archipelago of 115 lush and rocky islands and home to some of the world’s last pristine coral reefs with endangered species, including the southern fin whale and the Indian Ocean’s only dugongs – large marine mammals also known as “sea cows”. Residents rely heavily on marine tourism and fishing revenue. After years of borrowing to sustain economic development projects, the Seychelles defaulted on payments for its $406m (£311.6m) national debt and had to be bailed out by the International Monetary Fund. Plastic pollution, climate change and overfishing threaten to deliver a catastrophic blow to the nation’s marine ecosystem. However, the Seychelles signed a unique deal in 2015: almost $22m (£16.8m) of its national debt was written off, in exchange for the country doing more to protect its oceans. The “debt for nature” swap involved the US conservation group The Nature Conservancy (TNC) buying the debt, in exchange for a promise to create 13 new marine protected areas (MPAs).  As a result, the Seychelles has progressed from protecting 0.04% to 30% of its national waters, covering 410,000 square kilometers (158,000 square miles) of ocean – an area larger than Germany. Fishing, oil exploration and other marine development has been banned or severely restricted in the MPAs. Anyone who carries out illegal activities in these areas faces a hefty fine, or, in some cases, imprisonment. While the swap has been hailed as a major milestone for ocean conservation, some locals are skeptical: the nation’s foreign debt is mostly owed to the UK, France, Belgium and Italy. TNC bought it at a discount and then raised a further $5m (£3.8m) from philanthropic donors to lower the interest rate on the government’s outstanding loan. But is this a new form of green imperialism? Debt-for-nature swaps have taken place in the past to preserve tropical forests in the Caribbean and South America, but the Seychelles’ deal is the first of its kind to focus on marine conservation and the first to use loan capital to help finance the swap. The debt for nature swap involved one of the most extensive ocean-mapping projects in the world, second only to the Marine Spatial Plan completed by Norway. The process took several years to finish as a team worked to pinpoint which high biodiversity areas should be protected, while trying to minimize economic damage to existing industries, says Helena Sims, a marine biologist who led the project.

    References and Further Reading


    MACCE – Ministry of Agriculture, Climate Change and Environment (Seychelles): Contact person, Mr. Wills Agricole Principal Secretary for Energy and Climate Change,