Seychelles represented at the Sustainable Ocean Initiative High-Level Segment Meeting in Korea
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Global lslands Partnership (GLISPA) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) were some of the many that recognised and appreciated the leadership role of Seychelles and the challenges it faced in sustainable ocean management, development and conservation. These remarks were made at the Sustainable Ocean Initiative High-Level Meeting, hosted by Korea in Pyeongchang, on 16th October 2014. Seychelles President James Michel, currently holding the portfolio for Environment, was represented by Secretary of State Barry Faure. Special Adviser Didier Dogley has also been attending the 12th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biodiversity.
Secretary of State Barry Faure delivered an official statement, which renewed the commitment of Seychelles for the vision and mission of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and its twenty Aichi Biodiversity Targets. “Yes, we may be known as Small Island Developing States and not Super Powers, but in reality we are large oceanic nations,” remarked the Secretary of State.
With the marine environment providing humanity with a myriad of services ranging from food security and climate regulation to nutrient cycling and storm protection, it is therefore indisputably our greatest natural asset and as such we need to give it the attention it deserves.”
Seychelles is leading by example in many areas, providing hope to the stark Global Biodiversity Outlook, which indicates that, despite some progress, the world is not on track to achieve the majority of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, in particular, those relating to marine and coastal biodiversity.
Seychelles has adopted the Nature Needs Half vision by protecting over half of its total land area (the target on land is 17%) and 30% of its marine environment (the target is 10%), and by guaranteeing its citizens the right to a clean, healthy, and ecologically balanced environment.
Seychelles’ leadership role buttresses the strong role played by islands as is amply illustrated by its activism in climate change negotiations, in its application of Marine Spatial Planning, in the debt for adaptation swap initiative and in the development of the concept of the Blue Economy at international level as is evidenced by the annual Blue Economy Summits that the United Arab Emirates and Seychelles co-host.
Anther noteworthy role by Seychelles in ocean sustainability was its leadership role at the UNSIDS Conference in Samoa, when Seychelles launched the Western Indian Ocean Coastal Challenge (WIOCC) to realise political, financial and technical commitment at national and regional levels to achieve the goals of existing Conventions and Strategic Action Plans such as the Nairobi Convention, United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and United Nations Framework for the Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Seychelles’ statement carried a strong conviction: “Our ultimate goal is clear. We do not create new protected areas for the sake of creating new ones, but to create the right balance between the ocean-based activities that drive our economy and maintain the health of our marine environment so that we today, and the generations of tomorrow can continue benefitting from it. To us this means creating space to help us better protect important biodiversity, manage ocean-based economies, enforce the rule of law and improve resilience and mitigate climate change.”