Seychelles’ blue economy action plan validated |28 November 2019
The Seychelles’ Blue Economy Action Plan was validated on Tuesday in a national workshop held at the Savoy Resort & Spa.
The main objectives of this workshop were to further highlight the challenges and perspectives of the blue economy for Seychelles and to discuss the pathway for the implementation of the Blue Economy Strategic Policy Framework and Roadmap through an actionable plan.
Vice-President Vincent Meriton graced the event together with Daya Bragante, head of cluster on sub-regional initiatives, sub-regional office for Eastern Africa, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (Uneca).
The meeting provided stakeholders with a forum to better understand the concept of the blue economy and discuss the scope and components of the blue economy action plan with a view to ensuring that their expectations are met. The action plan was drafted by Hachim El Ayoubi, a lead consultant.
Ms Bragante explained that “Uneca has supported Seychelles in drafting the blue economy action plan which revolves around four main components:
1. The structuring of the blue economy including coordination of the blue economy activities in Seychelles;
2. The communication and awareness of the blue economy;
3. Federating activities which involve identifying all activities by bringing the stakeholders together and contributing at the same level to the implementation of the blue economy action plan;
4. Financing. Not everyone understands the blue economy along the same line. In order to have the buying and the ownership of the process in terms of implementation of all existing policies, you need to first have a common understanding.
The successful implementation of the action plan requires an effective coordination mechanism, together with capacity building, a communication strategy, and strong involvement of youth and women to ensure an inclusive approach of the process and facilitate access to funding.
The workshop facilitated the dialogue among delegates and representatives of various governmental bodies, non-governmental organisations, public institutions and the private sector.
It also created an opportunity for better linking research activities and sectoral development, a requirement for a robust coordinated approach to the development of the blue economy in Seychelles.
The workshop offered an opportunity to further discuss and agree upon proposed priority action areas for the blue economy in Seychelles as well as a federating approach (including coordination mechanisms) for the successful implementation of related activities at all levels (national, sub-regional and continental).
Blue economy principal secretary Kenneth Racombo noted that Seychelles’ bold vision for the future has contributed to the recognition of Seychelles’ championing role in terms of the blue economy and that the blue economy could generate the impactful returns that it could generate at all levels for beneficiaries.
“Moreover, we have recently supported the finalisation and adoption of the African Union Blue Print for Africa Blue Economy Strategy last month in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and we are also involved in the development of the Indian Ocean Commission Blue Economy Regional Action Plan in collaboration with ECA, which will be finalised next month. Important to note is that our own national action plan is aligned with both frameworks and will contribute to their harmonised implementation in the pursuit of the attainment of sustainable development goals at the continental, sub-regional and national levels. The blue economy relies on the same principles of sustainable development, intertwining the social, economic, environmental and governance dimensions that are deeply embedded in all our national development strategies. The blue economy also plays an important federating role and greatly contributes to strengthened regional integration. We cannot achieve our mission without closely collaborating with our neighbours and the rest of the continent. Addressing maritime security, climate change and enabling exchange of good practices, are among those areas that require in-depth cooperation. In return, positive impacts at all levels will only be magnified,” said PS Racombo.
Gabriella Gonthier also gave a testimony from the youth perspective of what she thinks the blue economy is about and how she was inspired to study more when she had a job placement at the department of blue economy.
Seychelles’ famous singer Joe Samy interpreted a few of his songs about the oceans.
Action plan addresses strategic challenges
1. Maritime security is fundamental to ocean health and development of the blue economy. While major advances have been made at regional level, including through the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS), much of the ongoing efforts are dependent on external funding and resources.
2. The state of natural resources. Despite recent efforts to protect critical habitats and fisheries, many are depleted. The threat to coral reefs is particularly high with potentially massive economic losses occurring over the next several decades.
3. Marine pollution, particularly from land-based sources, such as urban waste, extractive industries and agricultural runoff.
4. Translating concepts and the importance of culture through adequate communication. The social impact of changes in the ocean environment and the blue economy is poorly understood.
5. Knowledge management. Policy decisions require to be informed by scientific advice, for example in relation to risks, precautionary measures or an ecosystem approach.
6. Strong regional cooperation in order to ensure sustainable management of resources and mainly shared stocks.
Guests and delegates in a souvenir photograph after the launch of the workshop on Tuesday (Photo: Anel Robert)