Cap Business Océan India and Expertise France join forces to unite the regional private sector on this crucial issue

Engages companies in the region to work for the conservation of biodiversity, both on land and at sea. This is the purpose of the partnership concluded between Cap Business Océan India, an association bringing together regional private sector actors, and Expertise France, a subsidiary of the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) group. A € 700,000 funding agreement was signed between the two entities on Friday, May 13, on the sidelines of World Biodiversity Day, observed each year on May 22, as part of the Varuna program. The goal is to unite a group of development partners around a crucial issue: securing the hotspot
the biodiversity of the southwestern Indian Ocean.

These funds will fund the Business for Biodiversity project, which offers awareness-raising and capacity-building initiatives for businesses in the area by 2025. The aim is to help them measure their impact on ecosystems and encourage the introduction of nature-based practices and solutions.

The observation is unanimous: Private companies in the region are not very aware of biodiversity problems and have even fewer tools to measure their ecological footprint. With the Business for Biodiversity project, we want to remedy this through awareness-raising, training and technical support. In doing so, we want them to integrate issues related to biodiversity into their management and engage in reflection on their production methods. “, Explains Virginie Lauret, CEO of Cap Business Océan India. “ We are proud to count on the support of Expertise France, which allows us to participate in the implementation of a component of the Varuna program. “, she adds.

For Valentin Grange, Project Manager in the Biodiversity Department of Expertise France, “ the unusual endemic biodiversity of the southwestern Indian Ocean constitutes a strong identity for the region. However, this identity is threatened by erosion of biodiversity, which jeopardizes all ecosystem services, such as freshwater supply, soil regulation and pollination. These ecosystem services are still little taken into account in private sector growth plans. Therefore, we believe that it is necessary to encourage a coordinated effort and support the region’s economic actors in taking into account the challenges of ecological change. Thanks to its action and ability to structure networks of regional actors, Cap Business Océan India is the ideal partner to carry out this mission. “.

The implementation of this project will be led in the six territories of the region by a project manager, who will soon be recruited. In addition to developing an action plan, he will be responsible for leading a public-private dialogue platform on themes related to biodiversity, natural capital and nature-based solutions.

Academics from the region will be closely associated with these exchanges to consolidate the relationship between academia and economics. Several awareness-raising tools will be developed throughout the program to popularize knowledge, especially on indicators of the ecological impact of companies. Certified Public Accountants and CSR Managers from companies in the region will be trained in the tools regarding
social and environmental accounts.

For Cap Business Océan India, this partnership with Expertise France is part of the strategy presented in the 2021-2026 roadmap, published in November 2021. In which the association has made the conservation of biodiversity a cross-cutting priority, with the same title as Cap Business Océan India Union of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of the Indian Ocean’s circular economy, inclusion and low carbon and business resilience strategies. The aim is to produce a new economic model that is fairer, more sustainable and robust at regional level.

The Business for Biodiversity project has been made possible thanks to funding from France through AFD
and its subsidiary Expertise France.

About Cap Business Indian Ocean

Cap Business Océan India, an association registered in Mauritius as the Union of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of the Indian Ocean (UCCIOI), was established in 2005. It is a key player in regional economic cooperation and today brings together more than thirty chambers of commerce & industry and professional organizations from the Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mayotte, Reunion and the Seychelles. Cap Business Océan India, through its initiatives and positions, facilitates cooperation between companies and industries, and clarifies future challenges to promote the emergence of common fronts in the region.

About Expertise France

Expertise France, a public agency, is a key player in international technical cooperation, a subsidiary of the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) group. It designs and implements projects that sustainably strengthen public policies in developing and emerging countries. Governance, security, climate, health, education …

It intervenes in key areas for development and, together with its partners, contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). For a common world.

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About the Varuna program

VARUNA is a regional initiative of the AFD Group, which aims to preserve the “hotspot” of biodiversity in the Southwest Indian Ocean by bringing together a coalition of development partners (institutions, practitioners, academics, commercial and non-commercial private sector) investments in biodiversity conservation in the area.

The approach is intended to be a programmatic dynamic in the medium term (10-15 years) with the first funding provided by AFD from 2021 and a mandate awarded to Expertise France to coordinate and operate the program. VARUNA aims to become an “umbrella brand” for actions by the AFD Group and development partners acting in favor of biodiversity in the Indian Ocean.

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