ABU DHABI- Under the visionary leadership of HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE President, and the strategic direction of HH General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, to enhance bilateral relations and collaboration between the UAE and Seychelles Governments, a delegation from the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC) visited the Seychelles for the first official meeting to discuss the preparation of the Seychelles Strategic Plan.
Prior to this visit, an MOU was signed between the UPC and the Ministry of Land Use and Housing, in addition to a number of steering committee meetings and visits. The aim of these meetings was to determine the general scope and framework for the project, and the aspirations of the Government and the people of the Seychelles that the Plan will be required to respond to.
The week-long visit kicked off the start of the 12-month collaborative project between the Republic of Seychelles and Abu Dhabi Government. The aim of the project is to develop a plan that will articulate a clear vision for the future of the Seychelles, a country spanning over 115 islands in the Indian Ocean off the east coast of Africa.
The Seychelles Strategic Plan will cover all of the islands that comprise the Seychelles, with particular focus on the main island of Mahé. A framework plan will be developed for Mahé and a detailed Master Plan will be developed for Victoria, the capital city of the Seychelles.
Based on a thorough analysis of all issues relating to land use planning, the Plan will address the priorities for the Seychelles such as; facilitating economic growth and diversification, protecting the environment by ensuring development is undertaken in appropriate locations and in a sustainable manner, appropriate allocation of land for residential and economic use, protecting the character and heritage of the Seychelles, and preserving and enhancing its social and cultural aspects.
H.E. Falah Al Ahbabi, General Manager, UPC, said: “This is an exciting opportunity for the UPC and is the first time we’ve collaborated with an international government in this capacity. It is testament to our growing reputation globally in planning complete sustainable communities, in line with best practice planning policies, that we are able to advise and assist with the Seychelles’ future development plans.
“Our experience in shaping Abu Dhabi’s rapid growth stands us in good stead to share our expertise with overseas governments and planning agencies.
“As the population of the Seychelles is growing and the economy is changing, the need for a thorough development plan is becoming increasingly important to ensure that the country’s resources are used as efficiently and sustainably as possible, whilst still retaining its history, culture and beauty.”
The Plan will set out the urban development framework for the sustainable growth of the Seychelles over the next 20 years. The UPC will give technical assistance and support on the project to prepare and deliver the Seychelles Strategic Plan.
Christian Lionnet, the Seychelles Minister for Land Use and Housing, commented: “This meeting not only reaffirms the strong ties between Abu Dhabi and Seychelles, but it also confirms the commitment of the Government of Abu Dhabi, through the collaboration of the UPC, to assist us in our ultimate goal of enhancing the efficiency of the Planning Authority.
“The Strategic Plan will form the basis for a long-term planning framework for the island of Mahé and a Master Plan for Greater Victoria. It will also provide the Planning Authority with important tools for the performance of its functions,” said the Minister.