Climate Change Adaptation in Mauritius' Coastal Zone


As a Small Island Developing State, the Republic of Mauritius is particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change, especially in its coastal zones, where a convergence of accelerating sea level rise and increasing frequency and intensity of tropical cyclones results in considerable economic loss, humanitarian stresses, and environmental degradation.

In response to these vulnerabilities, this project will help coastal communities fight the adverse effects of climate change through the implementation of climate-resilient development measures. It aims to increase communal and livelihood climate resilience in coastal areas in Mauritius. This objective will be achieved through a series of initiatives: by applying adaptation measures to protect currently vulnerable coastal ecosystem and community features (at three priority sites on the island of Mauritius); by developing and implementing an early warning system for incoming surges; through trainings promoting compliance with climate-proofed planning, design, and location guidelines; by mainstreaming policies; and finally by disseminating and managing knowledge to ensure that the benefits from the project are replicated in other areas at risk.

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Project details

The visible and measurable effects of climate change in the coastal zone of Mauritius have become more apparent over the last ten years, reflecting increases in the rate of negative changes in the coastal zone due to climate change, along with an increase in the number of vulnerable sites. Mauritius Meteorological Services data indicate that the rate of sea level rise (measured in Port Louis) has averaged 3.8 mm/year over the last five years (albeit a short timeframe sample); this compares to an average of 2.1 mm/year over the last 22 years.

Additionally, there is a direct linkage between climate change effects on coastal ecosystem services (especially coral reefs and lagoons) and the integrity of the whole coastal zone of Mauritius. In particular, there is scientific evidence that increases in sea temperature have led to increased frequency and areal extent of coral bleaching, which contributes to a failure of the wave attenuation function of reefs. This leads to increased beach erosion rates and loss of lagoonal sediments, especially during storm events (for example, intense tropical cyclone Gamede, in February 2007, which resulted in severe beach erosion on the northern and western coasts of the island of Mauritius and at St. Brandon).

The coastal zone of ROM is critically important to the economy of the country, in terms of domestic and international tourism, as well as fisheries. The tourism link is the main concern in the coastal adaptation strategy for the country, since so much revenue and so many jobs are at risk if beaches continue to erode. There are 90 public beaches around the island of Mauritius, with a total length of 26.6 km, making up 8% of the coastline. These attract both domestic and international tourists. Most tourists come to enjoy the beaches (34% of tourists are “repeaters”), and the market response in the hotel industry reflects this: hotel capacities are maximized in proximity to beaches, causing local problems of beach loss and often not reflecting climate change risks.

Adaptation in coastal areas requires in situ changes in behaviour and site management, appropriate technical interventions, and early warning systems to enable communities to move away from areas where the risk of storm surge and flooding is imminent. As coral reefs lose the race with sea level rise, the critical ecosystem function of wave attenuation must be replaced in some manner. Equally important is the need for a monitoring system that tracks the correlation between key ecosystem functions and weather events to continue to inform and fine-tune the design of appropriate interventions.

This programme will implement appropriate coastal protection measures and deliver improvements in the resilience of communities in three coastal zones of the island of Mauritius: Mon Choisy, Riviere des Galets and QuatreSoeurs. The overall approach is to work from the level of technical solutions at specific coastal sites to the policy and regulatory level, such that future replication of coastal adaptation measures will be catalysed, supported by new policies, guidelines, and economic incentives. Coastal communities will be increasingly climate resilient and able to protect livelihoods that are tied directly to the integrity of the coastal zone on the island of Mauritius.

Thematic areas: 
Climate-related hazards addressed: 
Level of intervention: 
Key collaborators: 
Primary beneficiaries: 
Coastal Communities; Tourism Operators; Fishers
Implementing agencies and partnering organizations: 
Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, Mauritius
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Adaptation Fund
Project status: 
Funding source: 
Financing amount: 
$9,119,240 (amount requested and funded 2011-09-16
Co-financing total: 

Key results and outputs

Component 1: Application of adaptation measures for coastal protection

At three coastal sites (Mon Choisy, Riviere des Galets, Quatre Soeurs), complete technical assessment and information gathering on flood and erosion events (Output 1.1) to inform technical design of coastal protection measures (Output 1.2) to be implemented for the strengthening of vulnerable physical, natural, and social assets (Output 1.3). Analyze data to develop recommendations for upscaling to other areas of Mauritius (Output 1.4), to be aided by a coastal monitoring programme for physical parameters (Output 1.5) and process/weather events (Output 1.6).

Component 2: Early Warning System for incoming storm surges

Assessment of current monitoring systems and projected needs (Output 2.1), followed by the installation and implementation of an early warning system with communication linkages from the level of the National Coast Guard down to coastal communities (Output 2.2).

Component 3: Training

Handbook on coastal adaptation and regular training sessions delivered to various public, private, and NGO stakeholders (Output 3.1), including a short course on Coastal Engineering (Output 3.2) and a specialized course on Cost-Benefit Analysis of coastal adaptation measures (Output 3.3).

Component 4: Policy Mainstreaming

Develop a National Coastal Zone Adaptation Strategy to address climate change risks over at least the next 20 years (Output 4.1), to be accompanied by a set of recommendations on the best technical and institutional adaptation practices (Output 4.2). Create a ‘clearinghouse’ for climate change oversight (Output 4.3) and recommendations for new economic instruments (Output 4.4).

Component 5: Knowledge Dissemination and Management

Produce knowledge outputs including a handbook, training modules, and website content (Output 5.1), lessons learned across Indian Ocean coastal stakeholders (Output 5.2), interpretive signs and small-scale models of coastal processes explaining the science of climate change (Output 5.3), and public awareness campaigns on TV, radio, and internet (Output 5.4). Establish a priority ranking of vulnerable coastal sites to guide the order of future investment by the Government of Mauritius and the private sector (Output 5.5).


Climate Change Adaptation in Mauritius' Coastal Zone - 2013 Achievements

The Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, Mauritius, organized a presentation of AFB 2013 achievements.

Monitoring and evaluation

Programme monitoring and evaluation (M&E) will be in accordance with established UNDP procedures and will be carried out by the Programme Team and the UNDP Country Office. The Results Framework noted in Section D below defines the performance indicators for programme implementation at the output and outcome levels. The means of verification for each of these indicators will involve independent examination of the policies, guidelines, regulations, training materials, technical project interventions, and knowledge management outputs that the proejct will produce (all specified in the proposed targets, and therefore not repeated here or in the table in Section D). A Monitoring and Evaluation system for the programme will be established based on these indicators and the means of verification noted above, and will be the ultimate responsibility of UNDP.

Once the programme starts, a Programme Inception Workshop will be held (within the first two months of the programme) involving those with assigned roles in the programme organization structure, the UNDP Country Office and, where appropriate/feasible, regional technical policy and programme advisors as well as other stakeholders. An Inception Workshop report is a key reference document and must be prepared and shared with participants to formalize various agreements and plans decided during the meeting. The Inception Workshop should address a number of key issues including:

1. Assist all partners to fully understand and take ownership of the project. Detail the roles, support services and complementary responsibilities of UNDP CO and RCU staff vis à vis the project team. Discuss the roles, functions, and responsibilities within the project's decision-making structures, including reporting and communication lines, and conflict resolution mechanisms. The Terms of Reference for project staff will be discussed again as needed.

2. Based on the project results framework finalize the first annual work plan. Review and agree on the indicators, targets and their means of verification, and recheck assumptions and risks.

3. Provide a detailed overview of reporting, monitoring and evaluation (M&E) requirements. The Monitoring and Evaluation work plan and budget should be agreed and scheduled.

4. Discuss financial reporting procedures and obligations, and arrangements for audit. Audits on the project will follow UNDP finance regulations and rules and applicable audit policies.

5. Plan and schedule Project Board meetings. Roles and responsibilities of all project organisation structures should be clarified and meetings planned. The first Project Board meeting should be held within the first 12 months following the inception workshop.

Programme progress will be monitored as follows:

  • Programme progress on a quarterly basis will be monitored in the UNDP Enhanced Results Based Management Platform, and the initial risk analysis in the risk log will be updated accordingly.
  • Annual Review/Project Implementation Reports (APR/PIR) will be prepared to monitor progress made from programme start-up and, in particular, for the previous reporting period.
  • Periodic Monitoring through site visits: the UNDP CO and Regional Coordinating Unit (RTA) will conduct visits to coastal sites, based on the agreed schedule in the Programme Inception Report/Annual Work Plan to assess first hand the progress of the programme. Other members of the Programme Board may also join these visits. A Field Visit Report/BTOR will be prepared by the CO and the UNDP Regional Coordinating Unit and will be circulated after the visit to the Programme Team and Programme Board members.
  • The programme will undergo an independent Mid-Term Evaluation. The Mid-Term Evaluation will determine progress being made toward the achievement of outcomes and will identify course correction, if needed. It will focus on the effectiveness, efficiency and timeliness of programme implementation; will highlight issues requiring decisions and actions; and, will present initial lessons learned about programme design, implementation, and management. Mid-term evaluation findings will be incorporated as recommendations for enhanced implementation during the final half of the programme’s term. The organization, terms of reference and timing of the mid-term evaluation will be decided after consultation between the programme partners. The Terms of Reference for this Mid-term Evaluation will be prepared by the UNDP CO, based on guidance from the Regional Coordinating Unit. The management response and the evaluation will be uploaded to UNDP corporate systems, in particular the UNDP Evaluation Office Evaluation Resource Center (ERC).
  • An independent Final Evaluation will take place three months prior to the final Programme Board meeting (prior to programme closure) and will be undertaken in accordance with UNDP guidance. The Final Evaluation will focus on the delivery of the programme’s results as initially planned (and as corrected after the mid-term evaluation, if any such correction took place). The Final Evaluation will look at impact and sustainability of results, including the contribution to capacity development and the achievement of adaptation benefits. The Terms of Reference for this evaluation will be prepared by the UNDP CO, based on guidance from the Regional Coordinating Unit. The Final Evaluation should also provide recommendations for follow-up activities and will require a management response, which will be uploaded to PIMS and to the UNDP Evaluation Office Evaluation Resource Center (ERC).


Jessica Troni
Regional Technical Advisor