Vice President Danny Faure at the World Oceans Day Event at UNESCO stresses importance of Oceans for SIDS
Vice President Danny Faure represented President James Michel at the high level ceremony that concluded the event on oceans and climate change organised by the Intergovernmental Oceanic Commission and the Ocean and Climate Platform at the UNESCO headquarters on 8th June to celebrate World Oceans Day 2015.
The event brought together a wide range of individuals including scientists, representative of states, civil society and youth, in discussions revolving around the ocean’s essential role in the climate and as the life support system of the planet and the adverse impacts caused by climate change and acidification. It was opened by the Director General of UNESCO Mrs Irina Bukova in the presence of the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Laurent Fabius, the United Nations and UN-Oceans representative, Miguel Serpa Soares, and the Director of the French National Museum of Natural History, Gilles Boeuf.
The workshops, roundtables, the UNESCO Campus for students, and the exhibitions highlighted the ocean’s essential role in climate processes and the need for this to be included in international climate negotiations. Participants issued “The Ocean’s Call for Climate” which aims to raise awareness on the issue.
It is a call for a far-reaching agreement on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions at the 2015 Paris Climate Change Conference (COP21). It is also a call to strengthen the ocean’s capacity to mitigate climate change; to address the adaptation challenges faced by coastal regions and island nations; to integrate projects related to sustainable management and the conservation of marine and coastal biodiversity into climate finance mechanisms; to develop innovative solutions in energy, food and maritime transport industries; and for investment in scientific research for a better understanding of ocean-climate interactions and supporting policy formulation and implementation.
In his statement at the ceremony, Vice President Faure highlighted the importance of the ocean to the Seychellois nation and Seychelles’ transition to a comprehensive Blue Economy based on the sustainable use of its large oceanic territory. “We are small island states, but if we are to give the ocean its true importance, we should consider ourselves large oceanic nations. The world’s large ocean states and territories hold valuable solutions and lessons in conservation, adaptation and resilience”, he said.
He referred to the marine spatial planning of the Seychelles Exclusive Zone and the creation of a marine protected area to be managed by a trust fund established through a debt to adaptation swap with the Paris Club as an example of a small island challenge – the large debt to GDP ratio – being leveraged as a Blue Economy opportunity.
The Vice President drew attention to initiatives of island organisations such as the Alliance of Small Island Developing States (AOSIS) and the Global island Partnership (GLISPA) in climate negotiations and in building partnerships for the implementation of sustainable practices in ocean and coastal management. He also remarked that the African Union has formally acknowledged that oceans are essential for Africa’s sustainable development and called for international collaboration in this regard, commending the Intergovernmental Oceanic Commission (IOC-UNESCO) for its active role.
“Planet Earth has one ocean. Our ocean is the source of life; and we must ensure that future generations can access its potential fully and wisely”, Mr Faure said in ending his statement.
The other guest speakers at the high level ceremony were Prince Albert II of Monaco, President Tommy Remengesau of Palau, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart of Barbados, and the European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella.