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Sustainable Mauritius? Environmental change, energy efficiency, and sustainable development in a small island state in the Indian Ocean

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEnvironmental Change and African Societies
EditorsIngo Halterman, Julia Tischler
PublisherBrill
ISBN (Electronic)9789004410848
ISBN (Print)9789004410831
Publication statusPublished - 17 Oct 2019

Publication series

NameClimate and Culture
Volume5

Abstract

The tropical Small Island Developing States (SIDS) typically contribute little to global climate change, yet they are among the countries most vulnerable to sea level rises, variations in temperature, fluctuations in rainfall, and extreme weather events. With high population density and limited natural resources, they are also susceptible to the challenges of sustainable natural resource management. The Republic of Mauritius is one of four SIDS in the Indian Ocean, and one of six SIDS that are also members of the African Union. In 2008 the Mauritian government launched a programme called Maurice Ile Durable (MID, or Sustainable Mauritius) with the intention of turning Mauritius into a world and SIDS model of sustainable development. This chapter deploys MID as a lens through which to examine debates about environment and development in Mauritius. MID’s remit included environment, employment, education, and equity, but its main priority was energy efficiency. This chapter contrasts the narrow focus of Mauritian government actors firstly with the critiques of environmentalists – who called for greater emphasis on the preservation of biodiversity and mitigation of climate change – and secondly with the interpretations of marginalised urban citizens, many of whom came to see MID in particularly – and consequently the concept of sustainable development in general – in terms of energy efficiency and economic development rather than (also) environmental sustainability. It suggests that MID could have been more effective if environmental sustainability had been foregrounded, and more inclusive if economic development had been more equitably distributed.

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