New Democrats (ND) MP Khushal Lobine returned to the Wetlands Bill. He wanted to know where things stood. Minister Mahen Seeruttun admitted that the project had fallen behind schedule. The minister recalled that Mauritius has, since 2001, been a contracting party to the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, also known as the Ramsar Convention.

“My ministry has been considering the introduction of a Wetlands Bill. I must admit that the preparation of the bill took quite a long time, this for reasons beyond our control,” replied Minister of Agro-industry, Mahen Seeruttun to a question from Khushal Lobine on the Wetlands Bill .

He spoke of the “inherent complexity” of the issue, the challenges it presents with respect to Environmentally Sensitive Areas (ESAs) located on private properties and preventing their development, thereby depriving owners of their legal rights. Conservation of ESAs is not an easy task considering the fact that we are a developing island state with very limited land resources, among others.

“Mauritius does not have the skills required to address these issues, which required the use of international consultants to work on the bill. Currently, a draft law regarding wetlands has been developed and will soon be made available for consultation. The services of a consultant will again be required to assess and provide advice on the comments and opinions that will be collected during this consultation, and to determine whether they will be taken into account for the review,” said Minister Seeruttun.

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