February 11, 2023: Coral Garden Conservation hosted “Discovery Day 2023” to present the outcomes of a $7,500 Regional Environment Science Technology and Health Officer (REO) small grant provided by the U.S. Embassy to support a Voluntary Marine Conservation Area (VMCA) in the St. Felix lagoon.
Economic Officer Catherine Volman delivered opening remarks that highlighted the U.S. commitment to partnering with the Mauritian people on environmental preservation and educational exchange, in line with commitments made during the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit last December.
The U.S. Embassy’s partnership with Coral Garden Conservation assessed the marine conservation area’s biodiversity and established benchmarks for conserving Mauritius’s marine biodiversity. Some of the project’s goals included demarcating the conservation area, assessing its biodiversity, and promoting community engagement in conserving the St. Felix lagoon.
Economic Officer Catherine Volman
Talking Points for the Coral Garden Conservation Team’s
“Discovery Day 2023”
Saturday, February 11, 2023, at 13:35
St. Felix Public Beach, Mauritius
Mr. Sakel Fokeer, President of Coral Garden Conservation, and Mr. Gilbert Ricot, Secretary General, esteemed guests – Good afternoon. My name is Catherine Volman and I am the Economic Officer at the U.S. Embassy. I am so excited to be representing the Embassy today to celebrate Coral Garden Conservation’s accomplishments. On behalf of the U.S. Embassy, I would like to thank Coral Garden Conservation for inviting me to Discovery Day 2023 and would also like to thank all of you in attendance for being here to support this important initiative.
A little over a year ago, the Embassy partnered with Coral Garden Conservation and provided a $7,500 Regional Environment Science Technology and Health Officer (REO) small grant to support a Voluntary Marine Conservation Area, or VMCA, in the St. Felix lagoon. This grant is part of the State Department’s REO small grants program that is designed to support a range of projects as part of the U.S. Government’s engagement on environment, science, technology, and health priorities around the world.
Over the past five years, the program has provided over $1 million through more than 100 grant awards to local and regional NGOs, community groups, women’s cooperatives, and educational institutions to solve critical environmental problems. The U.S. Embassy is honored to have supported Coral Garden Conservation in this initiative that assessed the VMCA’s biodiversity and fostered community stewardship for sustainable management and conservation of Mauritius’s marine biodiversity.
Some of the benchmarks of this project included demarcating the VMCA, assessing its biodiversity, and promoting community engagement in conserving this area. Another important goal was organizing community activities, such as this one, so all of us can learn more about the importance of this initiative, and others like it.
The United States and Mauritius share common values on the protection and management of our ecosystems and the U.S. Embassy is proud to support programs and achievements such as this one.
This initiative is just one example of the U.S. commitment to partnering with the Mauritian people, and, in the coming year, you can expect to see additional, exciting opportunities for partnership on environmental preservation and educational exchange, in line with the many areas of progress underscored by the U.S. government during the US-Africa leaders summit, hosted in December by President Biden. As has long been U.S. practice, we will seek to collaborate with ministries throughout the government and local NGOs in building the skillsets of local professionals with our embassy’s programs.
Once again, it has been a pleasure to work with Coral Garden Conservation on this project, and the U.S Embassy looks forward to future collaborations in the environment space. Thank you.