Seychelles renews support for Global Island Partnership’s work


02-July-2012

Among those present at this side event were leaders from Indonesia, Grenada, Australia and Antigua and Barbuda.

It is an honour for me to be here today among so many prominent leaders of island communities and champions of sustainable development.  This event is indeed a celebration of commitments which we started more than seven years ago, in Mauritius, during the Small Island States International Meeting on Sustainable Development.

The Global Island Partnership (Glispa) is an initiative of the President of Seychelles, James Michel, and the former President of Palau, Tommy Remengesau.

With the support of IUCN, Glispa has been able to develop a small secretariat to champion the cause of island nations and in 2008 was recognised by the Convention on Biological Diversity as one of the mechanisms to implement the island biodiversity programme of work. The role of Glispa has involved working with island leaders and organisations on strategic initiatives aimed at strengthening action on critical issues and supporting leadership.

As part of our commitments today I wish not only to express the Seychelles Government’s heartfelt appreciation for the work being carried out by the Glispa team but also offer additional financial support to the amount of USD 10,000 annually for the next three years.

The Government of Seychelles remains fully committed to the work of Glispa, especially with the recent appointment of Ambassador Ronny Jumeau as ambassador for climate change and small island issues.

Our second commitment relates to another partnership which will touch the lives of all of us.  I believe we all know the many threats that are affecting our oceans today and therefore I firmly believe that these can only be overcome if we come together. So it is with great pleasure that I announce Seychelles commitment to the Global Partnership on Oceans and I wish to invite everyone present to also join this important initiative.

Thirdly I wish to report back on the progress we have made in implementing the Western Indian Ocean Coastal Challenge WIO-CC, an initiative that was also called for by President Michel in 2007.  The WIO-CC covers an area rich in biodiversity with some marine experts ranking it second only to the Coral Triangle. 

The WIO-CC has now received funding from the European Union and with the support of the Indian Ocean Commission ISLAND Project; the mobilisation of WIO country level engagement and commitment to move forward the Western Indian Ocean Coastal Challenge to build a common vision and regional strategy that addresses climate change impacts on coastal and marine ecosystems; the defining of roles and responsibilities of the WIO-CC Platform members and other stakeholders to advance common objectives and priorities; and the consultation to develop the WIO Coastal Challenge has begun. 

Last but not least, I wish to also announce Seychelles’ commitment to a debt swap for climate change adaptation initiative with the support of partners such as the Nature Conservancy. 

If Seychelles could raise US$2500 per year for climate change adaptation it is prepared to engage its debtors and, subject to successful negotiations, commit up to 30% of its marine territory as protected area with 15% designated as no take zone.  It is important to note that Seychelles has already committed over 50% of its terrestrial area as protected area.

Excellencies and friends,
Let me conclude by stating that now is the time for bold decisions if we are to have the kind of future that I know we all want for our people. It is imperative that countries large or small work in partnership at the global level for one common cause, that is to create a better future for our people and the next generation while maintaining the integrity of mother earth.
I thank you for your attention.

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