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UN Ocean Decade Conference: Seychellois youth panellist gives voice to islanders' concerns

Victoria, Seychelles | April 13, 2024, Saturday @ 08:15 in National » GENERAL | By: Sedrick Nicette Edited By: Betymie Bonnelame | Views: 5036
UN Ocean Decade Conference: Seychellois youth panellist gives voice to islanders' concerns

Lawen (middle) was on the panel as Peace Boat's ocean and climate youth ambassador from Seychelles. (Nathalia Lawen)

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(Seychelles News Agency) - A young Seychellois, Nathalia Lawen, represented Seychelles at the UN Ocean Decade Conference 2024, as a panellist at one of the satellite events of the conference in Barcelona, Spain.

The event was co-hosted by the Peace Boat organisation, which is a Japan-based global NGO that promote peace, human rights, and sustainability, together with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOOA) of the United States.

Lawen was on the panel as Peace Boat's ocean and climate youth ambassador from Seychelles and the main topic of discussion was youth capacity building and intergenerational collaboration.

"When I am given a chance to share my voice internationally, I carry Seychelles on my heart always. We all know how rare it is for Seychellois to be given a platform to speak internationally, so I treasure the opportunities I manage to get, and I do my utmost best to bring the voices of not just Seychellois, but the voices of my brothers and sisters from other ocean states like Seychelles to the world," said Lawen.

During the discussions, Lawen emphasised the need for more international cooperation to facilitate interaction between stakeholders in the Global North and the Global South.

"I would love to see a programme where youths from Seychelles get the chance to collaborate with international academic institutions to enhance capacity building," she said.  

Lawen added that "As African islanders, we are often excluded from important decisions globally and opportunities to grow are limited. Most of the time, lack funding is the factor."

She said that a way of communicating science in a simpler way is also lacking and "when science is communicated with very scientific terms, nobody wants to listen. I believe science, especially science about our Seychelles should be available in Creole."

With Seychelles being such a small nation, but facing very real problems, it is always important for the nation's voices to be heard, she believes.

For Lawen, such platforms allow small island developing states (SIDS) like Seychelles, to have an impact on protective actions that can be taken to minimise the risks of climate change challenges.

"Often at conferences like these, the majority of the participants are from the Global North," said Lawen.

She continued by saying; "I can tell you that when islanders meet at these conferences we stick together and this is where knowledge sharing happens. It is quite ironic that we are less represented at environment conferences when in reality we are the most affected by the decisions that come from international meetings like these. "

The young environment conservation champion says that in Seychelles, the ocean is in the people's DNA, the people depend on the ocean for their livelihoods, with most of the country's resources coming from the ocean around the islands.

She explained, "We know at this point, thanks to scientific research, how our ocean's resources are depleting because of pollution, climate change and numerous other factors. I believe that if one has the ability to do good, then why wouldn't you? We cannot stay silent while the world continues to facilitate the destruction of our planet in the name of development." 

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Tags: UN Ocean Decade Conference, Peace Boat

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