Seychelles to co-host Blue Economy summit in UAE
File Photo: President James Michel will deliver the keynote address at the second summit in Abu Dhabi ( Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Seychelles will co-host the second summit on the ‘Blue Economy’ taking place in Abu Dhabi next week.
Newly re-elected president of Seychelles James Michel will co-chair the summit and is to deliver the keynote address, a Tuesday statement from State House said.
The theme of this year’s summit is “One Ocean, One Future.” Seychelles and the United Arab Emirates also co-hosted the first Blue Economy summit in 2014.
By co-hosting this important event, Seychelles reaffirms the importance of the Blue Economy as a key element in its long-term development vision and foreign policy, the State House statement said.
Backers of the Blue Economy approach support Sustainable Development Goal 14 from the recent Paris Climate Change Agreement. Goal 14 is to “conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.”
The Seychelles is an archipelago of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean with an exclusive economic zone covering 1.3 million square kilometres. The island nation’s economy depends heavily on tourism and fishing, two industries reliant on the Seychelles’ abundant ocean resources.
Seychelles has been actively promoting the Blue Economy concept both locally and at international level stressing on sustainable development vis-à-vis ocean and maritime related activities. The island nation set up in March 2015 a Blue Economy Research Institute under the umbrella of the University of Seychelles and the Ocean Institute at the University of Western Australia.
Michel is spearheading Seychelles Blue Economy initiatives and spoke at a panel debate at the Special session of the Clinton Global Initiative on sustainable oceans last September.
“Seychelles has committed itself to be a Blue Economy pioneer. We have committed to empowering ourselves as Blue Guardians to not only empower island states, but to offer a new avenue for sustainable development and fighting climate change,” Michel said after the September event.
The second summit will focus on how to develop and apply the Blue Economy approach to support the Paris Climate Change Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goal 14 on oceans and its related targets.
As a small island state, Seychelles has the opportunity to share some of it initiatives contributing to climate adaptation and marine conservation. One is the country’s debt swap initiative where $30 million will be transferred into an ocean conservancy project. The other is a new transformative plan for the country’s demersal fisheries.
The summit is expected to end in a declaration supporting the implementation of the Blue Economy concept.