Seychelles and the blue economy at Rio+20

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Seychelles Vice President Danny Faure, who was representing the country at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development Rio+20, has said future negotiations on the green economy should include the issue of blue economy. “As islanders, we would like the blue economy to be an integral part of future negotiations on the green economy,” the Vice President told the Conference. “The oceans, seas, and their resources, not to mention the islands and coastal areas, are important for global food security and for achieving sustainable economic prosperity,” he said.

The existing international framework for the protection of the oceans, however, may not have the required capacity to meet the challenges and respond to pressures exerted on the marine environment, the Vice President said.

“Rio+20 should call for firm political commitment for better protection of the marine environment and define the modalities for implementation of a blue economy,” he added.

And thanks to sustained pressure and support of the oceans community, there are 20 paragraphs in a dedicated section on oceans and seas, and an additional three paragraphs on small island developing States (SIDS) in the Rio+20 outcome document (“The Future We Want”), which stressed the critical role the oceans play in all three pillars of sustainable development, and “commit[ed] to protect, and restore, the health, productivity and resilience of oceans and marine ecosystems, and to maintain their biodiversity, enabling their conservation and sustainable use for present and future generations,” the Global Oceans Forum says.

And at the “Leaders Valuing Nature” High-Level Leadership Platform at Rio+20, which was organised by the nature Conservancy and Global Island Partnership and co-hosted by H.E. Dr. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono President of the Republic of Indonesia and Prime Minister Thomas of Grenada, Seychelles and five other nations (Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Colombia, Grenada, Indonesia) and the Nippon Foundation, made commitments to preserve natural resources that provide livelihoods, food, protection from natural disasters and other benefits to people.

During this meeting, Vice President Faure said that if the Seychelles were able to complete a debt for adaptation to climate change swap that created a funding stream of at least US$2.5 million per year, it would establish 30% of its coastal zone as marine protected areas, with half of this area in no take zones. Seychelles further committed to providing three years of financial support the Global Islands Partnership and to continue to support the launching of the West Indian Ocean Challenge.

The green economy and the blue economy have been gaining ground in recent years, said H.E. Dr. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in his opening remarks. “They are not contradictory; they are complementary. Blue economy is an integral part of the green economy, which is our common objective. They are very much part of our sustainable future.”

Seychelles has also made a voluntary commitment to achieve 15% energy supply from renewable energy by 2030. This Voluntary commitment is based on the Barbados Declaration on Achieving Sustainable Energy for All in Small Island Developing States

Sources: http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/716460.shtml, the Nature Conservancy, UNCSD Voluntray commitments, and Global Oceans Forum.