It has been widely recognized that small island states are highly vulnerable to climate change and the resulting sea-level rise. Adaptation to these changes, on which countries should mainly focus during the next decade, is one of the environmental challenges to be taken into consideration for sustainable development. Anticipatory actions should be taken to mitigate the negative effects of these changes and priority should be given to the implementation of remedial measures. One possibility is to integrate climate change in the socio-economic development and management programmes at government and non-government levels.
In Mauritius, key socio-economic sectors which inter-alia are most likely to be affected by climate change and sea level rise are:
- coastal resources
- water resources
- health and well-being
- land use change and forestry and
Mauritius, an Indian Ocean island, is situated between latitudes 19°50’ south and 20°30’ south, and between longitudes 57°18’ east and 57°46’ east. It has a surface area of 1865 km2. The Island consists of an irregular Central Plateau surrounded by mountain ranges and plains. The Central Plateau has a mean elevation of about 300-400 m and rises to a maximum height of about 600 m in the South of the Island, the highest peak being 828 m. The Island is the result of four major volcanic activity periods between 7.8 million and 25,000 years ago.
The Republic of Mauritius consists of a main island, Mauritius, and a group of small islands scattered in the South West Indian Ocean namely: Rodrigues, the Cargados carajos St. Brandon, Agalega, Tromelin and the Chagos Archipelago Diego Garcia. The total land area of the Republic of Mauritius is 2040 km2. It is surrounded by coral reefs and is situated at about 2000 km off the East coast of Africa.
The Marine Exclusive economic Zone of the Republic of Mauritius is about 2 million km2 . It extends approximately from latitude 10°S to 20°S and from longitude 55° to 75°E