Seychelles flag flies high at biodiversity meeting


21-May-2012

Mr Jumeau (3rd left) and Ms Jeremie with other delegates at the meeting

In his address, Seychelles’ ambassador for Climate Change and Small Island Developing State Issues, Ronny Jumeau, stated that the challenges facing island biodiversity, and indeed the very sustainability of islands, are massive and increasing and that as the people who call these islands home, they have committed themselves to the solutions, often in ways that belie their size.

He warned the delegates that “... if we do not act now, if we do not work together, as parties we will all fail”.

Mr Jumeau was personally invited to deliver the speech by the new executive director of the CBD, Dr Braulio Dias, in the weeks leading up to the Montreal meeting. 
The chair of the particular session at which Mr Jumeau spoke introduced him as a well-known "island champion".

Mr Jumeau reminded those present that islands biodiversity is so critical – and using Seychelles an example he explained that the main drivers of the country’s economy are tourism and fisheries, making it heavily dependent on its natural environment.

Making reference to TEEB, the Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity Report, he informed them that small island states could lose up to 57% of their GDP by 2050.

He said that “in Seychelles, half the little land territory we have is protected. Land is the scarcest resource of all small islands and as we continuously point out in Seychelles, we sacrificed development, or at least development as we have traditionally known it, for conservation of the 50% of our land that we have protected”.

He informed delegates that what islands are asking for is more and stronger cooperation and support to help Sids’ (small island developing states) help themselves at a time of unprecedented stress on the world's natural, financial and economic resources. 

In his final statement, he asked delegates to do justice to those far-flung but unique pocketUnloading tuna in Port Victoria. Fisheries is one of the main drivers of Seychelles’ economy, making it heavily dependent on its natural environment champions of biodiversity and help them further help themselves in leading the world in the judicious use of their natural environments for the benefit of not just their populations and biodiversity, but of the common natural heritage of humankind.

Earlier that afternoon Mr Jumeau chaired a side event on the "Lessons and Challenges" that islands themselves have to offer on the CBD's Programme of Work on Island Biodiversity (PoWIB).

The event was organised by the Global Island Partnership (Glispa) which President James Michel co-chairs with the President of Palau and the Prime Minister of Grenada.

Mr Jumeau was leading a two-strong Seychelles delegation at the meeting of the CBD's Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA).  The other member of the delegation was Marie-May Jeremie from the Ministry of Environment and Energy.

In the days that followed Mr Jumeau spoke at two other side events on invasive alien species on islands and on sustainable oceans organised by leading international environmental NGOs.

Mr Jumeau also headed a delegation of members of the Glispa steering committee in a bilateral meeting with Dr Dias, at which Glispa offered to work closely with the CBD on issues of island biodiversity and also coasts and oceans.

Dr Dias highly commended the work Glispa is doing for and on behalf of islands and looked forward to the partnership supporting the CBD further in future.

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