Stop the devastation of ESA - ESA Bill Now

Say STOP to the destruction of Environmentally Sensitive Areas (ESA)! How? By asking policy makers and landowners to partner with the civil society to ensure that the ESA Bill is implemented as soon as possible.

The signatory Civil Society members invite you to support the Manifesto for the Environmentally Sensitive Areas (ESA) Bill.
Let's preserve and better manage our natural treasures! Sign the manifesto for the ESA Bill!
Write to your deputies to show your interest and concern.
Support the “ESA BILL NOW!” campaign on social networks.
Tell as many people around you as possible about it.
Download the “ESA BILL NOW!” logo and wear it proudly.
Join the national network
“ESA BILL NOW!” by filling out the form.


In 2008, the Mauritius government started working on a bill, known as the Wetlands Bill. However, it has not been debated or voted on in Parliament until today!

In 2009, the Ministry of the Environment is conducting a study about ecologically sensitive areas of Mauritius and Rodrigues (ESA Study 2009 - (285MB)). This report has never been revealed to the public and the bill it recommends, the ESA Bill, remains on stand-by.

In 2018, the Wetlands Mauritius Collective - of which Eco-Sud is one of the founding members - reads this report and broadcasts it in the public domain via an open letter to the deputies published in the newspaper L'Express. The article reminds them the need to preserve the ESA.

The report clearly states that the Mauritian laws are not appropriate to the protection of the ESAs:

  • Gaps in Legal Protection
  • Lack of thresholds that should be respected for ministerial decisions/non-disclosure
  • Inadequate environmental impact assessment
  • Inappropriate environmental planning
  • Inadequate enforcement

To this day, the bill is still not implemented. It’s even worse: 10 projects have been launched on these same ESAs in 2018. This is why we need your support in advocating for the protection and conservation of ESAs.

As members of civil society, you can help us in different ways by signing the Manifesto for the ESA Bill, for example, by writing to your local deputies or by supporting the “ESA BILL NOW!” campaign on social networks.

Advocacy goals

ESA Bill Mauritius - Videos series

ESA direct and indirect threats


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Manifesto for the Environmentally Sensitive Areas (ESA) Bill

The signatory Civil Society members invite you to support the manifesto. It’s your turn!

Let's preserve and better manage our natural treasures!

Azir zordi pou dime

Sign the manifesto    Download the PDF

A law for ESAs

The Civil Society who signed this manifesto is asking the political parties and the candidates to the legislative elections of the Thursday 7th November 2019, to make a firm commitment regarding the environment and the ecosystems.

In the 2018 World Risk Report, Mauritius Island obtained the highest World Risk Index (WRI) of Africa, to the point that it appeared amongst the 16 countries in the world, with the highest risks, facing the natural hazards.

However, our natural treasures keep being destroyed without a law that could insure their full protection.

It is now more than the time to do it, so that:

  • The Mauritian citizens can continue benefit from the ecosystemic services of ESAs
  • The biodiversity is preserved
  • The ecosystems can be able to increase their resilience capacity in front of the climate change effects

This urgent action stands along with the study that was made up for the Ministry of Environment and the Mauritius Government’s NDU:

“A study of Environmentally Sensitive Areas in Mauritius and Rodrigues” - ESA study 2009

The 3 following documents compose the main base of the ESA study:

  • National Environmental Strategies (NES), 1999
  • National Development Strategy (NDS), 2003
  • District Council Outline Planning Schemes (OPS)

The 1999 National Environmental Strategies (NES) has identified the ESA study as a priority one.

The ESA are a planning instrument that is used worldwide in order to identify and protect the natural resources of a country, as well as the environmental services they provide to the community.

One of the recommendations provided by the ESA Study is the application of the ESA Bill.

Why such a Bill?


  • 90% of our mangroves have been destroyed
  • Mauritians ingest 2kg of pesticides per year and per person
  • According to Statistics Mauritius, only between 2017 and 2018, the importation of pesticides increased by 6,6%, while the forests total surface decreased by 18 hectares during the same period
  • During the last 20 years, the insectivore bats population decreased by 80%
  • 20% of our lagoons are composed of living corals
  • Our lagoons suffer from eutrophication, meaning they are asphyxiated by the lack of oxygen

If the link between the public health and the destruction of the biosphere has been proved, it also has been noticed that it is also linked to lung and skin diseases, cancer, viruses and bacteria’s propagation, mineral intoxication.

In 2009 already:

  • 90% of our wetlands were affected by the backfilling
  • 60% of our wetlands were fragmentated
  • Our urbanisation level was 36 times higher to the global average (D.S Hammond, 2015)
  • There were only 4,4% of endemic forests left

A lot of those ecologically sensitive areas are unknown by Mauritians and are inaccessible because they are privatised. They are threatened to disappear due to the projects that are being developed there (mainly real estate).

There is an important opportunity to create new jobs revolving around the need to protect and restore those living treasures, but also around the need to raise awareness about the environmental issues.

The ESA Study emphasises the existing threats:

  • Loss and damaging of the ESA, causing the reduction of their number and of their area and the deterioration of their ecosystemic function
  • The impacts can add up to one another which can lead to an irreversible loss. The “point of no return” notion is mentioned in the report
  • The risk factors implying long term change are as follows:
      • Acidification of oceans
      • Variation of precipitations
      • Running out of aquifers 
      • Bioaccumulation of toxic substances
      • Genetic exhaustion
      • Loss of the topsoil
  • Short terms pressures on ESAs (Mauritius and Rodrigues):
      • Expansion of waterproof surfaces taking form of roads and buildings (built-up areas)
      • Inappropriate coastal defence work and construction recoil
      • Mechanic modification and damages
      • Generalized dumping of solid waste
      • Inadequate clean-up, treatment and reject
      • Industrial and agricultural runoff and pasturelands filled with chemical products and sediments
      • Soil erosion
      • Excessive exploitation or overuse
      • Increase of the freshwater demand

The ESA Bill, a priority bill

The Civil Society asks for the 2009 ESA Bill to be refreshed, discussed and voted for at the parliament as soon as possible. Therefore, it is asking every political party to commit by signing this manifesto.

Two important elements are to be taken into consideration:

  1. The ESA Bill update should be done with transparency and with the implication of the citizens
  2. Meanwhile, before the ESA Bill is discussed and voted in the parliament, no new EIA Licence should be delivered for projects that are near the ESAs.

The Manifesto signatories