Mauritius Ecovillage: Mainstreaming Biodiversity into Tourism Sector Development in sensitive Coastal Ecosystems

Lead country


Participating countries


Project status

Under implementation

Implementing period

From June 22, 2016 to June 21, 2021

SDGs addressed by this project

SDG targets

  1. 14.2 Sustainably manage, protect, restore marine, coastal ecosystems
  2. 14.7 Increase economic benefits of marine resources to SIDS
  3. 14.1 Prevent, reduce marine pollution, including debris, nutrients

Project ID: 4843

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Technical team

  • Ecosystems and Biodiversity Programme

Technical area(s)

  • Strengthening conservation areas
  • Mainstreaming biodiversity


  • Agrobiodiversity
  • Ecosystem-based adaptation


  • Conserved areas
  • Marine
  • Wetlands


  • Key biodiversity areas (KBAs)
  • arine and coastal protected areas
  • Coral reefs
  • Coasts
  • Large marine ecosystem
  • Mangroves

Transformed sector(s)

  • Aquaculture
  • Tourism

UNDP role(s)

  • Capacity development / Technical assistance
  • Institutional mechanism and system building
  • Policy advice


  • Management operation
  • Monitor inventory


  • Integrated coastal zone management
  • Sustainable land management
  • Knowledge/Data management
  • Integrated water resource management
  • Conserved areas/ protected areas management
  • Coastal risk reduction
  • Flood prevention/Early Warning
  • Improved & diversified sustainable livelihoods (TP 5)

Social inclusion

  • Local community/CSOs
  • Private sector

Gender equality

  • Women decision making
  • Livelihoods for women
  • Women's cooperatives and groups

Gender result effectiveness scale

  • Gender responsive


  • Systems pathway
  • People pathway

Risk reduction target(s)

  • Hazard control/mitigation
  • Improve resilience
  • Reduce exposure

SDG target(s)

  • 14.2 Sustainably manage, protect, restore marine, coastal ecosystems
  • 14.7 Increase economic benefits of marine resources to SIDS
  • 14.1 Prevent, reduce marine pollution, including debris, nutrients

Conventions and protocols


Private sector(s)


Hot topic

  • Nature-based solution
  • SIDS

About this project


The project aims at conserving and sustainably managing land across six multi-use coastal and marine landscapes in the Republic of Mauritius (five in Mauritius Main Island and one in Rodrigues): (1) Balaclava Pointe aux Piments; (2) Le Morne; (3) Vieux Grand Port; (4) Poudre d'Or - Ile d'Ambre - Roche Noire; (5) Northern Islets; (6) Riviere Coco-SEMPA-Mourouk Landscape. Together they cover some 150,000 hectares of land- and seascapes and harbour within this area sites that are high in biodiversity values and important for the generation of ecosystem services (e.g., shoreline maintenance, storm protection, soil formation and retention, water provision and flood control). Biodiversity and ecosystem service values are being lost in all six landscapes due to careless coastal developments that reduce and degrade natural habitats, and cause land degradation, undermining ecosystem functionality and resilience, especially in sensitive lagoon areas. These threats are compounded by other anthropogenic pressures that exacerbate degradation (i.e. land-based pollution, climate change). In order to identify focus areas for environmental action in the country, in 2010 the government commissioned a comprehensive, spatially-based study to identify environmentally sensitive areas (ESAs). ESAs are defined as areas that are rich in biodiversity and that render essential ecosystem services, but which suffer anthropogenic pressures. More than 1,300 ESA locations were identified, mapped and assessed in Mauritius and Rodrigues. They are classified according to 14 different Types that are grouped under five ESA Systems: 1) Wetlands; 2) Shore; 3) Offshore; 4) Forests; and 5) Stable Supply (of Water). The ESA Study provided a classification system for the identification and management of all ESAs. However, with the exception of forests, the recommendations emanating from the study have not been implemented. The protection of Forest ESAs is being engineered through the expansion of Mauritius' terrestrial Protected Area Network (the PAN), co-supported by a UNDP-GEF Project. Coastal and marine areas have yet to receive due attention. Key habitats along the coast and in near shore waters of both Mauritius and Rodrigues face high anthropogenic pressures. Yet, they remain largely unprotected and are being unsustainably managed. ESAs within those areas fall under 7 ESA types and cover 49,058 hectares on both Mauritius and Rodrigues (this represents 40% of the total ESA surface, while six landscapes in question encompass approximately 29,000 ha of these 7 ESA types) The project will address the threats to biodiversity in Coastal Wetlands, Shore and Offshore ESAs within the target landscapes through a three-pronged approach. First, it will support the incorporation of ESA recommendations into policies and enforceable regulations pertaining to coastal zone management (CZM). With a special focus on tourism and physical development in the coastal zone, threats to biodiversity and ecosystem functions and resilience will be mitigated. Second, the project will support the effective management of marine protected areas (MPAs) across the Republic, given that they are an important part of the coastal and marine land/seascapes targeted by the project. Third, the project will take measures to arrest land degradation in sensitive locations, designed to reduce coastal erosion and sedimentation and help restore ecosystem functions in key wetlands areas. As a result of the project, biodiversity within coral reefs, seagrass beds, mangroves, inter-tidal mudflats, sand beaches and dunes, and coastal freshwater marshlands will be better protected and managed sustainably, both in Mauritius mainland and in Rodrigues.


To mainstream the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and ecosystem services into coastal zone management and into the operations and policies of the tourism and physical development sectors in the Republic of Mauritius through a ‘land- and seascape wide" integrated management approach based on the Environmental Sensitive Areas" (ESAs) inventory and assessment.

USD $4,794,521

Grant amount

USD $17,149,177

Leveraged amount (co-financing)


Source(s) of fund

Sources of fund


  • Global Environment Facility – Trust Fund ($4,794,521)

Implementing partner(s)

  • Government of Mauritius

Project metrics

Related resources

Geospatial information

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Project reports and documentation



Mauritius Ecovillage: Mainstreaming Biodiversity into Tourism Sector Development in sensitive Coastal Ecosystems