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Faced with climate change challenges, solidarity is essential

By associating itself as a Platinum Partner with the first Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society to be held in Africa, Rogers was expressing its commitment to fighting climate change, which was central to the event.

photos : manoj nawoor

Solidarity was a recurrent theme in the talks and discussions at the Women’s Forum Mauritius, which was held on 20 and 21 June 2016 at the Sugar Beach Resort & Spa. Associating herself with the entreaties of Nicolas Hulot, President of the Fondation Nicolas Hulot pour la nature et l’homme, the President of Mauritius, Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, called for solidarity at all levels, national, regional and international.

“The way we do things has to change to ensure our survival,” emphasised Jacqueline Franjou, the CEO of the Women’s Forum for the Economy, at the closure of this high-level regional conference, which focused on the issues relating to climate change.

“We made the decision to host the Women’s Forum because Mauritius is listed as the 14th country most at risk from rising sea levels,” further declared Mrs Gurib-Fakim during the launch drinks party, held on 19 June at the Paradis Beachcomber Golf Resort & Spa on the Morne Peninsula. “It seems to us that the most important subjects for us to talk about are climate change and health. This platform enables men and women to join together to debate these subjects.”


Organised under the aegis of the President of the Republic, the event brought together 400 delegates, including men and women from academia and the scientific and business communities from 41 countries. It was an opportunity for very useful exchanges on various subjects linked to climate change and in particular its impact on Africa and small developing island states, the most threatened by this major problem.

There were high-level contributions on climate, agriculture and biodiversity, water supplies and purification, health and energy, while scientific and technological advances and eco-innovation were also on the agenda. Women with impressive career paths or stories also shared their experiences with the audience and there were numerous opportunities for further sharing and exchanges.

Rogers also took this opportunity to present the Domaine de Bel Ombre’s ambitious integrated development project, which embraces economic, social and environmental issues (see pages 94 and 100). The main element will be an Interactive Land & Marine Resource Centre.

In her talk explaining Rogers’ presence at the Forum, Audrey d’Hotman de Villiers-Desjardins, CSR & Sustainable Development Manager, spoke of how, for the Group, “the contribution of women is important. Indeed, they are in the forefront of our activity to ensure the sustainable development of the Domaine de Bel Ombre.”

"The contribution of women is important. Indeed, they are in the forefront of our activity to ensure the sustainable development of the Domaine de Bel Ombre."

Audrey d’Hotman de Villiers-Desjardins


A stand with giant screens and touch tablets – with a very “natural” touch – offered participants a more detailed presentation. They also had the opportunity to discuss the Group’s projects and activities further with the CEO, Philippe Espitalier-Noël and the Rogers’ team attending the Forum.

Belinda Wong-Vacher, who concurrently holds the functions of Rogers’ Corporate Manager, Projects & Development, and Fund Manager of the Group’s property arm, Ascencia, was for her part invited to speak during the session entitled Meet the next generation of leaders, which highlighted the path to date of three young women destined to a promising future.

For Philippe Espitalier-Noël, “The widespread satisfaction expressed at the end of the two days of exchanges and discussions reveals a clear will to pool our efforts so that we move in the right direction for the sustainable development of the planet we share.”

WOMEN’S FORUM mauritius 2016







countries represented



A group of participants forming a circle around a tree to symbolize harmony with nature.
The Rogers CEO, Philippe Espitalier-Noël (centre), talking with participants at the Forum.
Robert Sebbag, Vice President Access to Medicine, Sanofi.
The Rogers CEO, Philippe Espitalier-Noël (centre), talking with participants at the Forum.
From L. to R.: Gilbert Espitalier-Noël, Beachcomber’s CEO, the French environmentalist, Nicolas Hulot, Laurence Tubiana, French Ambassador for international climate negotiations, the philanthropist and banker, Alvaro Sobrinho, Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, President of the Republic of Mauritius, Donald Payen, Executive Vice-President Customer Experience, Ground & In-flight Services, Air Mauritius and Jacqueline Franjou, CEO of the Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society.
Julius Akinyemi, Resident Entrepreneur, MIT Media Lab and Gillian Martin Mehers, founder and CEO of Bright Green Learning.
Alexandra Henrion Caude, Director of Research at the National Institute of Health of France (Inserm).
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