UNDP decision on AKNL’s complaint
AKNL has now been advised of the UNDP administrator’s decision regarding the complaint lodged 2 years ago by them (AKNL), regarding the non-compliance issues in the way a UNDP-led project was carried out.
At national level, the means to limit further destruction of the environment are getting lean. AKNL thus raised a flag to the attention of the international institutions as Mauritius, while being a beneficiary of aids and funds dedicated to the protection of the coastal regions, is adopting policies that go against the main purpose of the aids/grants programmes.
The complaint addressed specifically to a UNDP-led project, financed by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), known as “Mainstreaming biodiversity into the management of the coastal zone in the Republic of Mauritius”. Between June 2019 and October 2020 the UNDP’s Social and Environmental Compliance Unit (SECU) committee carried-out an investigation that raised several fundamental points, from shortcomings to compliance issues (See full document here and here).
It is worth noting that all along the process, AKNL made a recurrent request, which was to ask the Mauritian government to apply a freeze period in terms of granting of permits to any new property and hotel project in the coastal regions while the programme was being deployed. The point was to wait until a mapping update of Ecological Sensitive Areas (ESA) be completed and the ESA Bill be reviewed and adopted, before taking irreversible decisions. Since the UNDP project is scheduled for a relatively short duration, (3 to 4 years), granting new development permits during that same period was acting against the UNDP’s Social and Environment Standards (SES).
Since AKNL considers that the general tone of the administrator’s conclusion differs from the SECU’s report, it has addressed a letter to the administrator stating:
1. a recall of the reasons that initially triggered AKNL’s initial complaint,
2. crucial comments on some of the administrator’s decisions highlighting how they are not inline with those of the investigation team,
3. some suggestions as regards to the final “monitoring” phase of the project so as to effectively take some of the recommendations into account.
AKNL has privileged the form of an analysis, restating the findings of the investigation that have been toned down in the administrator’s decision document. The letter includes “table of discrepancies” and suggestions that would help the Mainstreaming biodiversity into the management of the coastal zone in the Republic of Mauritius programme to be implemented under the best possible conditions, emphasizing on consultations with the relevant stakeholders instead of carrying out a masquerade operation where on the one hand the government accepts the grants for protecting the coastal regions and on the other frantically grants permits for major building developments in and around ESAs. The latest demonstrations of this malfunction is the highly-contested property development project on the Tourelle du Tamarin, as well as the generalised destruction of the “Salines” peninsula. a region supposed to postcard the Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) in the scope of the current UNDP project.
Read the administrator’s decision here. And AKNL‘s letter to his Excellency here.