Local Economic Development Plan for Le Morne, Mauritius is available in the DLIST document library

Frida Lanshammar's picture

In February 2010, the Le Morne Heritage Trust Fund commissioned a Local Economic Development (LED) Plan for Le Morne Cultural Landscape. The Le Morne community is well aware of the pivotal place that they occupy in the Le Morne Cultural Landscape (LMCL) and the important role that they have play in the maintenance and development of the World Heritage Site. They hold their heritage dear, they care deeply about their village and the way of life in it, and there is a strong sense of community. They are also eager to collaborate with Government and other partners in developing the LMCL and making their village a better place to live. They are intensely aware of environment problems, both on land and in the lagoon. They participated actively in the development of the LED Plan, and the Village Council (well represented on the Planning Committee) and other tiers of Government have been most cooperative in the collective planning exercise. The final version of the Le Morne LED can be found on this link: http://www.dlist-asclme.org/document-library/local-economic-development-...

Aim of the LED Plan:
The purpose of local economic development (LED) is to build up the economic capacity of a local area in such a way that its economic future can be improved, with a positive impact on the quality of life for all inhabitants. It is a process by which public, business and non-governmental sector partners work collectively to create better conditions for economic growth and employment generation.
In a nutshell:
a. The Local Economic Development Plan is considered a major instrument that will help to guide development that will lead to an improved quality of life in the village of Le Morne, and the surrounding area through improved infrastructure and services, and the creation of sustainable business opportunities and employment.
b. The LED Plan was commissioned by the Le Morne Heritage Trust Fund Board. It was developed as a result of extensive engagement with the local inhabitants as well as consultation with relevant authorities and other players.
c. Community involvement came by way of public meetings and visioning exercises held with Community-Based Associations (CBAs).
d. To further ensure that local interests were safeguarded, and to instil a sense of ownership by the community, an LED Planning Committee was selected at the village level, to spearhead the process, and be closely involved in the elaboration of the plan.
e. Most importantly, the LED Plan pursues a collectively constructed Vision, and can be considered a road map to this end:

“We envision Le Morne to be a safe place to live, where there are adequate facilities and infrastructure. Our natural resources, both on land and in the sea, and our cultural environment should be respected, kept clean and developed in a wise manner so the local population can benefit, and tourists will be attracted to our village. Our human resource should be developed through capacity building opportunities and access to equal education, leading to flourishing business opportunities. Development in Le Morne should always be mindful of our heritage values and way of life that makes our village so special”.

f. There are four sections to the LED Plan. The first section provides an Introduction with essential background, the purpose of the plan and a basic description of the area covered by the plan.
g. The second section explains the Methodology in a fair amount of detail. Consultations were exhaustive and the process fully transparent. Additional research was done to provide a solid basis for the LED Plan.
h. The third section presents the Outcomes of the consultative process, socio-economic and other research and desktop work on other initiatives that may impact on local economic development.
i. The fourth section provides a combined Strategy and Implementation Plan that is short, direct and suitable for local consumption, as agreed with the community and Le Morne Heritage Trust Fund (LMHTF).

Twenty four major issues identified through stakeholder consultations are:
Sewerage system, public health, child care facilities, training and capacity building, education, the need for a multi-purpose centre, sports facilities, ecotourism development, creating and enabling environment for businesses, food security, safety, environmental custodianship, arts and culture, land accessibility and ownership, marine resources and lagoon management, and quality of life.

These points are targeted by ten areas of intervention, following points that are listed by issue and area of intervention in the Strategy and Implementation Plan. Some areas of intervention cover more than one issue, and some issues cut across several areas of intervention.

Main areas of intervention outlined in the Strategy and Implementation Plan are:
a. The main areas of intervention first and foremost include access to the Mountain.
b. Access to land is a major cross-cutting issue, and this is coupled with better use of land that is currently available for development.
c. A Multi-Purpose Resource Centre (MPRC) has been identified as an effective way to address many issues concerning social health, human development and capacity building.
d. The creation of an enabling environment of business will give small business development a great boost.
e. Assistance to the fishing community is very important, considering that Le Morne is primarily a fishing community where almost everyone has some connection to the sea.
f. Education, sport and social services require diverse improvements.
g. Tourism development can contribute greatly to the overall development of the LMCL, and has to proceed along Sustainable Tourism and Responsible Tourism guidelines.
h. Unlocking assistance from the private sector is also a priority, as is the provision of essential infrastructures.
i. Considering the World Heritage Site status of the LMCL, heritage development is deemed essential and urgent.

Local Economic Development Guidelines:
Guidelines for local economic development in the LMCL that address the following aspects are presented:
a. Training, human resource development and community engagement
b. Promoting local businesses
c. Equity in business enterprises
d. Social responsibility

The LED Plan is a vehicle to guide both local and national government when designing projects around LMCL. It can also inform donor funding and private sector involvement and most importantly, the LED Plan can help to coordinate the multi-sector efforts at making the LMCL a better place to live while safeguarding the essential characteristics, namely the Outstanding Universal Value, the Authenticity and the Integrity of the site, that led to the site being inscribed on the World Heritage List. Above all, the LED Plan also reminds the inhabitants and different interest groups in Le Morne of what they strive towards collectively, as a local community who has a key role to play in the unfolding of the plan which, after all, is theirs. The LED Plan crystallizes the ground level agenda and, at a country level has the potential to become a remarkable example of a ‘top down, bottom up’ approach to local economic development. It is imperative that the LED Plan be widely disseminated and that appropriate placement for it be found in existing legal frameworks, for instance the Planning and Development Act of 2004.