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Islands in the spotlight - Seychelles Climate Change Ambassador speaks at UN biodiversity event

Victoria, Seychelles | May 22, 2014, Thursday @ 21:43 in Environment » GENERAL | By: Hajira Amla and Sharon Uranie | Views: 4500
Islands in the spotlight - Seychelles Climate Change Ambassador speaks at UN biodiversity event

UNESCO world heritage site of Vallee de Mai on Praslin where grows the biggest seed in the world, the coco-de mer - More than 50 percent of Seychelles land territory is protected  (Gerard Larose, STB)

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(Seychelles News Agency) - Seychelles Ambassador for Climate Change and Small Island Developing States issues, Ronald Jumeau, who is based in New York, has warned that traditional donor-recipient financing mechanisms are no longer enough to help island nations achieve and secure sustainability for themselves, especially in such an uncertain global economic climate.

The warning features in his foreward message, featured in the official publication of the Convention on Biological Diversity for the International Day for Biological Diversity.

Today, May 22, is the day chosen by the UN to increase understanding and awareness of the importance of biodiversity. This year, the theme chosen by the UN’s Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is Island Biodiversity, in recognition of 2014 as the International Year of Small Island Developing States.

“It is consequently increasingly recognized that one of the most effective ways to protect and sustainably manage and use biodiversity for sustainable livelihoods is through genuine and durable partnerships for action,” Jumeau, who chairs the steering committee of the Global Island Partnership (GLISPA),writes in his foreward.

The Seychellois ambassador was invited to deliver a speech at a special event at the United Nations in New York to mark the International Day for Biological Diversity, an event co-hosted by GLISPA and the CBD as well as the permanent missions of Grenada, Samoa, Palau, Papua New Guinea and Mauritius.

In addition to the launch of the island biodiversity publication, the message of the UN’s Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, is also to be delivered at the event. The event will focus on the importance of biodiversity in the pursuit of sustainable development for small island states and to showcase examples of best practices in island biodiversity.

600 million islanders depend on biodiversity for livelihood

The biodiversity of the world’s islands is considered the key to the livelihood, economy, wellbeing and cultural identity of 600 million islanders, equal to one tenth of the world’s population.

GLISPA helps to promote public-private partnerships among island nations to find homegrown solutions to their own challenges where big donations fall short. The global partnership has already brought together more than $130 million for island conservation and sustainable livelihoods in small island states.

2014 being the International Year of Small Island Developing States, says Jumeau, the opportunities will present themselves, both at the on UN SIDS summit in Samoa in September and CBD COP12 in South Korea in October, to create partnerships that actually deliver on their commitments to implement island solutions.

Seychelles , a leader in conservation

The Seychelles Minister for Environment and Energy Prof Rolph Payet has also added his voice to calls for the protection of biodiversity saying this year’s theme chosen for the day ‘Island Biodiversity’ is especially relevant to the Seychelles, as a leader in conservation.

“Seychelles would not be the island paradise without its unique and spectacular beauty. We owe our tourism industry to its environment. We also owe our livelihood, our fisheries to its abundance in tropical food and fish. Our health, our water is all possible through the extensive forests we have preserved for this and future generations. Sadly with the pressure of development and climate change we need to strive for more sustainability in our actions. It is the moral duty of every Seychellois, every business and every tourism developer to respect and care for our unique biodiversity” says Payet in a message for the occasion.

“While islands constitute less than 5% of the Earth’s landmass they provide habitat for 40% of all listed critically endangered and endangered species. In Seychelles we have the highest density of endemic lizards per square meter than anywhere in the world, and the largest population of wild giant tortoises in the world. These credentials, together with the millions of birds and marine mammals that thrive freely in our territory, make Seychelles a very unique place on earth.”

Seychelles has 52 percent of its land territory protected under law as nature reserves, making it the most conservation-minded country in the world. Second after Seychelles is New Zealand, which has 30 percent of its territory protected as nature reserves.

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Tags: Ronald Jumeau, Rolph Payet, International Day for Biological Diversity, Ban Ki Moon, United Nations, islands

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