Environment minister’s Biodiversity Day message-‘Let’s play our part to stop biodiversity loss’


22-May-2012

Dr PayetThis comes in a message from the Minister for Environment and Energy, Dr Rolph Payet, on the occasion of the International Day for Biodiversity being celebrated today.

The full text of Dr Payet’s message reads:  
“It is easy for us to think that biodiversity relates to some rare plants and animals only to be found somewhere in national parks, special reserves and in hidden places where only scientists are allowed to venture.

“But how wrong can we be; biodiversity comprises all variations within and between living organisms and their ecosystems and they range from the ones we take for granted such as weeds because they are common to those that today are highly threatened and stand at the brink of extinction.

“Whilst extinction is a natural process through which species have to go through, we humans are currently responsible for accelerating the process that causes mass extinction of thousands of species around the planet. A very rare phenomenon, which, according to scientists have happened only five times during the existence of the earth through massive natural disasters. 

“Every second, every minute and every hour, species are being threatened with extinction as a result of anthropogenic activities such as habitat destruction, pollution, introduction of alien invasive species and human over-consumption.

“The theme chosen for this year’s International Day for Biodiversity is ‘Marine Biodiversity’ and its main aim is to provide Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and everyone interested in marine life, the opportunity to raise awareness on the global, regional and national issues affecting marine life and thereby increase the participation of everyone in reversing this very worrying trend which is destroying one of the richest environments that exist on earth. 

“We, islanders, should make it a must for us to dive in the waters around our shores in an effort to better appreciate and discover just how rich the marine biodiversity is. It is only through acquiring a better understating of the world below the blue waters around us that we will be able to care for it. “Another aim of this initiative is to get parties to double their efforts to protect marine biodiversity and ecosystems through the review of existing marine protected area networks as well as the establishment of new ones and better managing the activities that take place in these areas.

“Currently 193 countries are party to the CBD.  Seychelles was the second country to sign the statutory instrument of this convention which came in existence after the historic world summit on sustainable development in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. 

“In Seychelles, our legacy speaks for itself, we have always invested strongly into conserving and protecting our environment because from very early on we have recognised and learned to appreciate that the Seychelles biodiversity is unique and valuable to our long-term development. “The three main objectives of the CBD which relate to conservation and protection, sustainable use and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits derived from the use of genetic resources of biodiversity, have remained the main pillars of our policies  The concept of biodiversity being the world’s natural capital is today being highly promoted especially during this year when the world will meet in Rio de Janeiro for the second time to charter a new global roadmap for sustainable development.

“We, Seychellois, as a people should be proud of not only our natural heritage but also our achievement as a small nation with limited resources. Today Seychelles is recognised globally as a world leader in biodiversity conservation and we have only achieved this through our hard work and dedication.

“Over the last 20 years we have removed many species from the endangered list, stopped commercial and over-exploitation of several threatened species, improved management of many areas and increased our protected area network to more than 50% of our territory. Indeed there is always scope for us to do more and there is no question that we as champions as we are we must do more.

“President James Michel’s efforts to ensure we are a leader at the international level has resulted in the creation of the Global Island Partnership (Glispa) which today champions biodiversity conservation in islands around the world. More recently Seychelles has taken up leadership on a new initiative under Glispa on the western Indian Ocean coastal challenge which will enable the region to better protect its biodiversity and build resilience against climate change.

“Our children and young people’s engagement and prolific participation show that they too share this vision, and they have shown this through countless initiatives and activities throughout the last two decades.

“While we celebrate ‘Biodiversity Day’, we must not forget that the challenges facing the natural world today at the global level are immense and we all in our own way can contribute to prevent the loss of biodiversity and halt the process that threatens our world with the sixth mass extinction.  “Extinction is forever, just like the dodo if we do allow the process to go on, the future generations will live in a much poorer world than the one we know today and many species that we take for granted will only be known to them through miserable museum replicas.”

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