Mauritius

Location

Port Louis
Mauritius
20° 10' 0.12" S, 57° 30' 0" E

Capital Based Focal Point:

Ministry of Environment and National Development Unit (Environment Division)

Capital City: 
Port Louis
Languages: 
English, Mauritian Creole, French, English, Rodriguan Creole
Category: Social
Indicator 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Source
Net enrollment ratio in primary education 92.90000000000001 92.40000000000001 93.90000000000001 95.59999999999999 94.8 95 95 95.40000000000001 MDG Database
Seats held by women in national parliament, percentage 7.6 5.7 5.7 5.7 5.7 5.7 17.1 17.1 17.1 17.1 17.1 UN Stats (MDGs indicators)
Literacy rate, adult total (% of people ages 15 and above) 84.3 87.5 World Bank
Category: Land
Indicator 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Source
Agricultural land (1000 Ha) 111 111 106 106 104 104 103 101 98 FAO
Forest area (sq km) 380 378 376 374 372 370 368 366 World Bank
Forest area (% of land area) 18.72 18.62 18.52 18.42 18.33 18.23 18.13 18.030000000000001 World Bank
Category: Tourism
Indicator 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Source
International tourism receipts (% of total exports) 732 820 829 960 1,156 1,189 1,302 Development Data Group, The World Bank. 2008. 2008 World Development Indicators Online. Washington, DC: The World Bank. Available at: http://go.worldbank.org/U0FSM7AQ40.
Category: Demographics
Indicator 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Source
Country population 1,186,870 1,199,880 1,210,200 1,222,810 1,233,390 1,243,250 1,252,990 1,260,690 1,268,850 1,275,320 World Bank
Population annual growth 0.982676 1.09003 0.855994 1.037 0.861093 0.79681 0.779897 0.613048 0.645335 0.508535 World Bank
Maternal mortality ratio (modeled estimate, per 100,000 live births) 28 32 36 World Bank
Category: Indices
Indicator 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Source
HDI - Human Development Index 0.657 0.685 0.69 0.693 0.695 0.697 0.701 UNDP International Human Development Indicators - Calculated based on data from UNDESA (2009d), Barro and Lee (2010), UNESCO Institute for Statistics (2010b), World Bank (2010b) and IMF(2010a).
Category: Economy
Indicator 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Source
GNI per capita, PPP (current international $) 8,060 8,440 8,690 9,030 9,770 10,140 10,900 12,080 12,750 13,270 World Bank
ODA received as % of GNI 0.46 0.46 0.52 0.27 0.55 0.54 0.3 1 1.23 UN Stats (MDGs indicators)
Workers remittances (current US$) 177,000,000 215,000,000 215,000,000 215,000,000 215,000,000 215,000,000 215,000,000 215,000,000 215,000,000 UN Data
Category: Energy
Indicator 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Source
Electric power consumption (kWh) World Bank
Combustible renewables and waste (metric tons of oil equivalent) World Bank
Fossil fuel energy consumption (% of total) World Bank
Category: Climate Change and Sea-level Rise
Indicator 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Source
Carbon dioxide emissions (CO2), thousand metric tons of CO2 (CDIAC) 2,769 2,967 2,981 3,146 3,198 3,410 3,777 3,887 MDG Database (CDIAC Data)
Category: Freshwater
Indicator 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Source
Improved water source (% of population with access) 99 99 99 World Bank
Category: Biodiversity
Indicator 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Source
Proportion of terrestrial and marine areas protected 0.72 0.72 0.72 0.72 0.72 0.72 0.72 0.72 0.72 0.72 UN Stats (MDGs indicators)

Climate Change and Sea Level Rise

In 1999, Mauritius made its Initial National Communication to the UNFCCC; the Second National Communication is underway. In the 2008-2009 budget, the Government embarked on the Maurice Ile Durable (Mauritius, Sustainable Island) programme, a vision first put forward by the Prime Minister in 2007 to combat energy insecurity. Also, since 1990 Mauritius has instituted a National Climate Committee (NCC) that oversees all climate change-related policy.

In Mauritius, meteorological records clearly indicate the increase of average temperatures, rising sea levels, intermittent heavy rainfall causing flash floods and climate variability that deviate from past patterns.

Analyses of temperature trends recorded in Mauritius and its outer islands show a definite warming of 0.74 to 1.2°C when compared to the 1961-1990 long term mean. At some urban stations, temperature has risen by even greater amounts. Climate change effects include the decreasing trend of annual rainfall since the 1950s, lengthening of the intermediate dry season, a shift in the onset of summer rains, an increase in the number of consecutive dry days and an decrease in the number of rainy days, a rise in sea levels, and coral bleaching. The degree of vulnerability of the different economic sectors is very variable with the two most vulnerable being the coastal zone and the agricultural sectors.

Accelerated sea-level rise is expected to result in land loss, beach erosion, damages to coastal infrastructure, degradation of coral reefs and loss of wetlands. Agricultural production will be affected through higher climate variability and extreme weather events with changes in crop development, more competition from weeds, higher incidence of pests and diseases, and indirectly from availability of water resources and changes in soil physical and chemical properties. Coastal agriculture could be affected by land degradation and there is a risk of intrusion of salt water in coastal acquirers. Increased sea surface temperature, changes in nutrient availability, weather patterns and warming of ocean basins will affect the fisheries industry. Climate change is predicted to be the greatest long term threat to biodiversity in many regions including Mauritius. As a result of climate change, current threats to biodiversity including habitat loss, weeds and pests are expected to intensify.

Food security is already an issue, with Mauritius being a net-food importer, but food insecurity is likely to aggravate further with climate change. In particular with extreme weather events, warmer spells, erratic rainfall and pest resurgence are likely to weaken Mauritius’s ability to strengthen its own food security.

Mauritius Strategy for Implementation National Assessment Report 2010
Initial National Communication of the Republic of Mauritius under the UNFCCC

Natural and Environmental Disasters

The Republic of Mauritius has a Cyclone and Other Natural Disasters Scheme which includes a preparedness plan for disaster risk reduction. The Scheme has defined the Emergency Operation Plan for any hazard likely to threaten Mauritius and/or Outer Islands with clear response and rehabilitation measures by the relevant authorities. Education and public awareness at the community level has also been well established. Mauritius also has a National Oil Spill Contingency Plan.

Located in the tropics, the Republic of Mauritius is exposed to a range of natural disasters such as cyclones, tidal surges and torrential rains commonly causing flash floods and landslides. However, the impacts brought about by such natural disasters have generally been reversible. The Government’s central committee dealing with cyclones, floods and other natural disasters has been an effective national platform which has ensured risk reduction, rescue and relief operations. However, the effects of climate change have increased the frequency of extreme weather events in Mauritius, resulting in heavy rains, cyclones of increased magnitude and greater resulting damage.

Mauritius Strategy for Implementation National Assessment Report 2010

Waste Management

Waste management in Mauritius is directed by the Ministry for Local Government. The National Programme for Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) is a government strategy which integrates waste into the greater sustainable development policy with a focus on Integrated Waste Management and Recycling.

The relatively rapid economic growth of Mauritius has created an increase in its annual amount of solid wastes collected and disposed of. Waste minimization, reuse and recycling are high on the national agenda and the target is to recycle 25% of municipal solid wastes. Mauritius has already embarked on its National Programme for SCP, which creates a framework for further sustainable development policy. Projects implemented under one of the priority areas of the Programme, namely Integrated Solid Waste Management and Recycling, focuses on waste management and public involvement in this. Activities included in the National Programme for SCP include looking at producer responsibility, local authority action plans and the promotion of backyard composting. All the wastes collected by local authorities and private companies transit through a network of transfer stations (on mainland Mauritius) where they are compacted and conveyed through cost-effective bulk transportation to the island’s only engineered sanitary landfill at Mare Chicose. In 2008, household waste constituted 93% of the total solid waste landfill. All waste carrier lorries, such as those for household wastes, recycling, effluent and hazardous wastes, are licensed.

Mauritius Strategy for Implementation National Assessment Report 2010
National Programme for Sustainable Consumption and Production in Mauritius 2008-2013

Coastal and Marine Resources

In 2010, Mauritius introduced the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Framework.

Due to the large size of Mauritius’s Exclusive Economic Zone in comparison to land size, fisheries are an important natural resource asset when considering the current food insecurity being experienced. The economic potential of the marine resources is recognized, with the development of Mauritius as a seafood hub for fishing activities and processing being planned. Additionally, tourism in Maritius is heavily reliant on coastal areas.

Despite the reliance on coastal and marine areas for economic and food security, these areas are experiencing degradation, including coastal erosion, over-fishing, pollution from land-based sources, climate change, effects of past lagoon sand mining, and degradation associated with tourism and development pressures. Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing is also a big concern for Mauritius. Coastal adaptation measures include the close monitoring of coral reefs, coral regeneration and artificial coral growth projects, mangrove plantations, coastal protection works to combat beach erosion, and various coastal rehabilitation works across the islands.

There is no systematic data collection with respect to the evolution of the coastal zone in Mauritius. The need for quality, long time-series data is imperative for improved coastal zone management.

Mauritius Strategy for Implementation National Assessment Report 2010

Freshwater Resources

Water resources are addressed in the National Programme for Sustainable Consumption and Production for Mauritius Report.

Mauritiusis classified as a water-stressed country, unlikely to provide the level of water required in the future if current consumption patterns continue to rise. Currently, Mauritius has a well developed network supply with many river sources, boreholes, aquifers and reservoirs making up the surface water resources. However, due to its topography and geographical setting, it suffers from rapid run-off and evaporation. This is followed by periods of water shortages during which the coastal areas in the north and east are subjected to seawater intrusion. With rising consumption, surface water supplies have to be supplemented by groundwater, which accounted for 53% of total potable water consumption in 2007. Around 87 % of total freshwater supply comes from surface water and the remaining 13 % from groundwater sources. If more effective management is not introduced, demand threatens to outstrip supply within 50 years.

With climate change, a decrease in the overall amount of rainfall is expected. A decrease in the average amount of rainfall has already been noted over the past decade. Adaptation measures taken by Mauritius due to the expected water shortages in the future include: an integrated plan for water resources development to 2040 has been prepared; surface water storage has been increased; existing storage dams and irrigation channels have been rehabilitated to minimize seepage loss; capacity of potable water treatment plants have been extended; and ongoing public awareness campaigns on water saving have been instituted.

Mauritius Strategy for Implementation National Assessment Report 2010
National Programme for Sustainable Consumption and Production in Mauritius 2008-2013

Land Resources

Mauritiusproduced a report entitled A Sustainable Diversified Agri-Food Sector for Mauritius 2008-2015 through the Ministry of Agro-Industry and Fisheries to address the issue of food security.  Land resources were also addressed in the National Development Strategy released in 2004.

The Republic of Mauritius is a group of islands in the South West of the Indian Ocean, consisting of the main island of Mauritius, Rodrigues and several outer islands located at distances greater than 350 km from the main island. About 43% of the area is allocated to agriculture, 25% is occupied by built-up areas and 2% by public roads; the remaining consists of abandoned cane fields, forests, scrub land, grasslands/grazing lands, reservoirs and ponds, swamps and rocks.

Mauritius, on account of its limited land, absence of economies of scale and agronomic characteristics, imports most of its essential food items, namely cereals (wheat/flour and rice), edible oil, meat and dairy products, spices and fruits, as well as a fair proportion of its potato, onion, garlic and ginger needs. As a result, Mauritius imports 77% of all its food requirements, a vulnerability which has been further exacerbated by the exponential rise in global food prices these past years. Additionally, agro-industrial diversification is hindered by continuing over-dependence on imported raw materials.

Mauritius has both state- and private-owned forestry areas, but only 1.7% of native forests remain. There is a lack of data on the evolution of these forests, tree densities, species, biomass accumulation, regeneration and degradation with regard to privately owned forests. An ongoing reforestation programme by the Forestry Service is being implemented, as well as new policies centring on sustainable forestry management and the promotion of soil conservation. Land use is also complicated by limited resources, and a relatively high population density, and the National Development Strategy highlights the likely future need to release agricultural and forestry lands for development to meet these pressures.

 

Mauritius Strategy for Implementation National Assessment Report 2010
A Sustainable Diversified Agri-Food Sector for Mauritius 2008-2015
Fourth National Report on the Convention on Biological Diversity

Energy Resources

In 2007, the Prime Minister of Mauritius announced the Maurie Ile Durable Vision and Fund, aiming to making Mauritius development more sustainable, and, specifically, to ensure energy independence. The Central Electricity Board (CEB) has phased out less efficient generating units and is planning investments in renewable energy sources, namely wind and solar. Mauritius also has a long term Energy Strategy covering 2009-2025.

Mauritiusis highly dependent on imported fossil fuels. The whole of transportation fuel is imported, while only 19% of electricity is produced from renewable sources. The share of energy imports on national accounts is very significant and, with the volatility of global energy prices, is vulnerable to projected fuel price rises.  The Maurice Ile Durable Fund was set up in June 2008 with a provision of Rs 1.3 billion ($40 million) with resources mobilized through taxes, government subsidies, development partners, carbon taxes and the private sector, including airlines offsetting their carbon emissions to address this energy problem. The Fund was set up to finance programmes that preserve natural resources with a view to achieving sustainable development and adaptation to climate change through the use of local sources of renewable energy. In this way, the Maurice Ile Durable programme was set up to address ongoing energy vulnerabilities and inefficiencies within a sustainable development context. Key energy limitations for Mauritius are the prohibitive costs of investing in renewable technologies, and as an island nation, the lack of interconnectivity of the energy grid with other countries.

Mauritius Strategy for Implementation National Assessment Report 2010
Long-term Energy Strategy 2009-2025

Tourism

The Tourism Development Plan released by the Government in 2002, recognized the need for a specified eco-tourism strategy as important to maintaining biological diversity. This was followed by the Tourism Sector Strategy Plan (2009-2015) in 2009, which focuses on achieving an environmentally, socially and economically sustainable tourism sector. Additionally, in 2009, the Ministry of Tourism, Leisure & External Communications released‘Positioning Mauritius in the World’ to articulate the Mauritius brand strategy.

Tourism in Mauritius depends to a large extent on the health of the coastal and marine ecosystem, however it is also one of the main sectors placing pressure on coastal and marine habitats. Tourism is seen as an emerging sector, and is one of the key drivers of the economy. The Government of Mauritius aims to reach two million visitors per year by 2015. According to 2000 figures, hotel sites occupy about 13% of the coastline, and 30% of the total area of sandy beaches. As hotel numbers are projected to double under the Tourism Sector Strategy Plan, this pressure on the coastal areas is only likely to increase. Mauritius has an established luxury tourism brand, and has one of the highest rates of returning visitors in the world. This is actively encouraged by the Government of Mauritius, due to the strong reliance of the economy on the tourism sector. However, the expansion of tourism puts increased pressure on coastal and marine areas that are currently threatened by over-development, erosion and land-based pollution as well as the effects of climate change. Because of the limited number of beachfronts remaining for hotel development, the Mauritius tourism strategy will rely increasingly on the promotion of eco-tourism activities.

National Programme for Sustainable Consumption and Production in Mauritius 2008-2013
Mauritius Strategy for Implementation National Assessment Report 2010

Biodiversity Resources

Mauritius submitted its Fourth National Report on the Convention on Biological Diversity to the CBD in 2010. Mauritius also updated its National Environment Policy in 2007. Mauritius also has a National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, released in 2006.

The flora and fauna of Mauritius has a relatively high level of diversity and endemism as a result of the island’s location, age, isolation and varied topography. The extent of reasonable quality native forest (i.e., with more than 50% native plant canopy cover) is currently estimated at less than 2% of the total area of the island. The remaining native terrestrial biodiversity is primarily confined to marginal lands of low suitability to agriculture and urban development such as steep mountain and valley slopes or to marshy and rocky soils where the land is largely undevelopable.

Despite strong awareness of biodiversity concerns, Mauritius has one of the most threatened biological diversity in the world. Roughly 89% of the endemic flora in Mauritius is considered threatened and 61 of the country’s indigenous species are already classified as extinct. Twenty-four out of the 52 native species of vertebrates that were known to have occurred on Mauritius and the adjacent islets are now extinct, including the Dodo (Raphus cucullatus), a giant parrot (Lophopsittacus mauritianus) and two species of giant tortoise (Cylindrapsis spp.). There are twelve legally proclaimed protected areas on the mainland, including one national park, seven nature reserves and four reserves.

The systematic management and conservation of the threatened native biodiversity and its offshore islets started in the early 1940s. Marine Protected Areas for mainland Mauritius cover an extent of 7,190 hectares, including six fishing reserves and two marine parks. Currently, key threats to biodiversity include: land clearing for development on mainly privately owned land; invasive alien species; habitat modification for deer ranching; pollution from land-based sources and activities; and the adverse impacts of climate change. The effect of land conversion creates fragmentation of previously large contiguous populations of native species, and the pressure on land resources is likely to continue this trend. The National Development Strategy states that over the next 20 years, a further 15,000 hectares of land may need to be released from the agricultural and forestry (including native forests) sectors to meet the projected needs for development of housing and social amenities.

Fourth National Report on the Convention on Biological Diversity
Country Strategies: 
Title Programme Name Programme Description Year
Food Security Strategy - Mauritius A Sustainable Diversified Agri-Food Sector for Mauritius 2008-2015 2008
Energy Strategy - Mauritius Long-term Energy Strategy 2009-2025 2009
UNFCCC Nat Comm - Mauritius Initial National Communication of the Republic of Mauritius under the UNFCCC Strategy Description 1999
NBSAP - Mauritius Fourth National Report on the Convention on Biological Diversity Strategy Description 2010
NSDS - Mauritius Mauritius Sustainable Island
NSDS - Maurice Maurice Ile Durable 2009
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External Resources: 
Title Programme Description Year
Government of Mauritius
Office of the President of Mauritius
Office of the Prime Minister of Mauritius
National Assembly of Mauritius
National focal point for sustainable development: 
Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development
Sustainable Development, Policy and Planning Division
Tel: 203 6200 (Ext: 229)