Minister Joubert’s message on the International Day for Biological Diversity |22 May 2023
‘Actions must be undertaken as of now to halt biodiversity loss’
“Biodiversity is the variety of life on earth and provides us with the ecosystem services, especially food, clean air, water, which are the necessities for the survival of humankind. Its importance cannot be quantified, but often neglected or taken for granted. We are losing biodiversity at an alarming rate due to habitat loss, invasive species, pollution, and most importantly because of climate change. The world is facing two planetary crisis; biodiversity loss and climate change. If there are no actions taken globally to address biodiversity loss, we will witness massive extinction of species, degraded ecosystems, increase in zoonotic diseases, threatened food security, increase in poverty and increase in human and wildlife conflicts to name a few. Countries are already seeing some of the adverse impacts of biodiversity loss, and this is why Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity met in Montreal, Canada for COP 15 to negotiate on a new agreement to address the loss of biodiversity.
“It was a landmark and historical moment for biodiversity at COP 15, whereby the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) was adopted. This agreement is an opportunity for the world to address and halt the loss of biodiversity and restore natural ecosystems. “Actions must be undertaken as of now to halt biodiversity loss. Some important elements of the framework is:
- the protection of 30% of the world’s lands and oceans;
- restoring at least 30% of degraded terrestrial and marine ecosystems;
- cutting global food waste and reducing over-consumption;
- reducing excess nutrients and the use of pesticides and highly hazardous chemicals;
- preventing the introduction and eradicating or controlling invasive species;
- using nature-based solution as a mean of adaptation to climate change;
- phasing out or reforming harmful subsidies towards biodiversity; and
- ensuring financial resources are mobilised globally for implementation.
“The framework is a whole of society approach; which means it includes everyone from government, private sector, communities and individuals. This year's theme – ‘From Agreement to Action: Build Back Biodiversity’ – provides the starting point to translate this framework into actions at national level. Seychelles remains committed to the objective of the Convention of Biological diversity; we will do our part to ensure the implementation of the framework at
“Seychelles has received funding from GEF Enabling activity to update and align our National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan with the new framework. This will enable us to reevaluate our priorities for biodiversity, to address some of the impacts towards biodiversity at the national level, but at the same time contribute to the global targets.
“We must recognise that Seychelles is also losing biodiversity, mainly due to habitat loss, invasive species, pollution and climate change. Our forests are being degraded, our coral reefs are bleaching, our beaches, which hosts nesting sea turtles, are being eroded, our species are under threat, some of which are critically endangered.
“We must understand the importance of biodiversity for our survival, and to our economy. Biodiversity is the foundation of our economy, with the tourism and fisheries industry highly dependent on a thriving environment. Most importantly, we must understand the pivotal role of biodiversity in climate change mitigation and adaptation, especially through nature-based solution.
“Despite the continuous threats, the country is doing its utmost to conserve our ecosystems and species. Seychelles has already protected 48.2% of its terrestrial land and 32.6% of its oceans achieving the SDG targets and target 3 of the GBF before its adoption and this year, Seychelles will be moving towards implementation of its Marine Spatial Plan. We are restoring our degraded forests, through ecosystem-based adaptation. One of the main threats to our
forest ecosystem is invasive creepers. It has been identified as one of government’s main priorities for the environment sector. Under the GOS/GEF/UNDP Ridge to Reef project, priority invasive creepers for management have been identified, with prioritisation of sites for the removal of invasive creepers. There are currently ten identified sites at district level on Mahé, Praslin and La Digue for the removal of invasive creepers. Seychelles has developed a coral reef policy and action plan and currently undertaking coral reef restoration, through funding from the Adaptation fund. We are moving towards the protection of our seagrass and mangrove ecosystems. Moreover, we are ensuring the survival of our endemic species through research,
monitoring and habitat management.
“Moving forward, the country must invest more resources towards biodiversity conservation. It is critically important that biodiversity be mainstreamed in all sectors. Promote sustainable agriculture and fisheries. Businesses are encouraged to incorporate biodiversity in their business models and support biodiversity-related project.
“Seychelles will continue to play its role on the international level to ensure that the voices of small island states are heard and that we get access to financial and technical support and for capacity building. We have taken a step further by co-leading the Sids (small island developing states) coalition for nature, which was launched at COP 15, to advocate for biodiversity, to address key priority areas such as financial resources, capacity building and to build international partnership.
“Furthermore, Seychelles is championing the Marine Protected Area action group under the Commonwealth blue charter and sitting on the international steering committee of the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People, which is focusing on the implementation of the 30 percent protection of land and ocean.
“Moreover, we have signed several MoUs and agreements at international, regional and national level, for the conservation of Seychelles’ biodiversity and increasing cooperation and collaboration on issues such as illegal wildlife trade and for collection and analysis of data on threatened species, which enables Seychelles to do its reporting under the multilateral environmental agreements.
“Although there may be numerous challenges, we must ensure that we conserve and protect our biodiversity, not just for us but also for our future generation. We must contemplate on what kind of future we want to live in, a world devoid of biodiversity, where humans lacks the basic necessities to survive or a world where we live in harmony with nature. Our actions now, will determine this.
“Biodiversity is everyone’s business and we must all play our parts to protect it.”
Minister for Agriculture, Climate Change & Environment