Nature Seychelles’ Italian connection

Leading conservation body Nature Seychelles yesterday signed an agreement with an Italian university which will see environmental knowledge shared between the university and the conservation organisation.

Professor Massimo Panndolfi of the University of Urbino sat down with Nature Seychelles’ Chief Executive, Nirmal Shah, to sign a Memorandum of Understanding, which formalised a commitment to exchange information, skills and staff, to boost the expertise of both organisations.

But Mr Shah was keen to stress that the signing has implications for Seychelles far beyond an increase in technical capacity at Nature Seychelles. “Today’s signing will, I hope, be of benefit to all organisations – government and non-government – which are working for the good of Seychelles’ environment. Meetings, training, capacity development and other opportunities for sharing conservation knowledge will be open to all relevant parties,” he said.

And while Seychelles will benefit from an increase in environmental information the agreement will allow the University of Urbino to offer a unique study opportunity to its students and staff.
The agreement states that it is signed, “In the interest of expanding educational opportunities, exchanges of knowledge and furthering international understanding.”

Prof. Panndolfi thanked Nature Seychelles for helping establish the link between the university and Seychelles and said that he looked forward to bringing more students to study in the tropics.

The signing of the memorandum coincided with an educational visit to Seychelles by Prof. Panndolfi, who is spending 18 days on Praslin with a group of students, running a course on tropical island biodiversity.

“Forging links with overseas organisations, such as this one, are a key step in overcoming the shortfalls in human resources and training capacity which are unavoidable in a remote, small island state such as Seychelles,” said Mr Shah after the signing.

Visits by University of Urbino staff and students to the Nature Seychelles managed, Cousin special reserve will soon be made easier with the unveiling of the Centre for Island Conservation at L’Amitie on Praslin, which is expected to be open to visitors in the coming three months.

The University of Urbino is in north-east Italy, is home to over 20,000 students and was founded in the early sixteenth century.

Nature Seychelles, September 15th 2006

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