Seychelles pushes forth its Blue Economy agenda |24 November 2020
The 24th Meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee of Senior Officials and Experts (ICSOE) of Uneca (United Nations Economic Commission for Africa) was held virtually yesterday.
On that occasion, Designated Minister Jean-François Ferrari, who also holds the portfolio responsibility for the Blue Economy, also addressed delegates from the department of the Blue Economy Office at the Oliaji Trade Centre Building. The Seychelles Blue Economy Youth Group also addressed the audience.
There were four sessions on the programme yesterday: Overview of the Blue Economy; Blue Economy valuation toolkit; Youth and Blue Economy and Blue Economy Satellite Accounts.
Minister Ferrari spoke as the Minister for the Blue Economy before Session 3 – Youth Advocacy and Involvement in the Blue Economy – where the Blue Economy Youth group gave a presentation.
The Blue Economy Youth Group is a new element and comprise five young people engaged in advocacy of the Blue Economy and is affiliated with the department of the Blue Economy. The members are Pearl Bastienne, Laurent Valentin, Jean-François Lepathy, Mario Desaubin and Gabriella Gonthier.
Designated Minister Ferrari noted in his speech that “in view of the recent structural changes under the new Seychelles government, I would like to convey the government’s unwavering commitment to push forth the Blue Economy agenda both at the national, regional and international levels. It is important to stress that the recent restructuring and reorganisation of portfolios, reflects our government's earnest effort to ensure that the country's priority fields or areas benefit from the right amount of attention, focus, and support that they deserve, such that our national objectives and aspirations can be attained”.
He also explained that Blue Economy is cross-cutting and multi-sectorial and his ministry will be working in close collaboration and hold continuous dialogue with other ministerial departments and agencies, such as tourism, maritime transport, environment, education, social, just to name a few, such that no sector in the Blue Economy sphere is marginalised.
“The Blue Economy has, for us, strategic significance, especially with Seychelles being a large ocean state despite the limited land space that it occupies. It is therefore only logical and fundamental for us to make use of our most important asset, to surpass our natural vulnerabilities and challenges and strive relentlessly to attain our development goals. Although we have not been largely protected and spared, the Covid-19 situation has accentuated the need for us to practice more resilience so as to become more self-reliant,” he stressed.
Designated Minister Ferrari also renewed Seychelles’ commitment to invest significantly in our youth and empower them to the best of their abilities with the tools that they will need to effectively succeed us in the years to come.
“I foresee the Seychelles Blue Economy Youth Group as a pre-emptive strategy to address potential future gaps in the governance aspect of our Blue Economy. What is even more awe-inspiring with this group is the fact that their membership is entirely on a voluntary basis. Undoubtedly, this display of devotion among our youth gives us hope for the future! It is the type of message that we want to proliferate at the continental level since Blue Economy has been recognised through a number of policy instruments such as the African Union's Blue Economy Continental Strategy, as Africa's development pathway.”
The five youths also addressed the audience and talked about the Blue Economy Youth Group Seychelles and how it all started. The goal is to prompt the youth from diverse backgrounds to start a trend where the younger generations are more interested and involved in the development of the Blue Economy in the Seychelles and to create a group of young leaders who will be prepped all well versed within the Blue Economy sector and the multiple opportunities the latter will bring.
They also talked about the Youth perspective on Blue Economy, the shortcomings, how can they can tackle these challenges; Can youth involvement in the Blue Economy be scaled up in Africa? How can the youth group contribute to accelerate post-Covid 19 recovery? And why is it important to listen to the voice of the youth?
The group will work in close collaboration with the department of the Blue Economy with the aim of stimulating interests and empowering members to play an active role in the governance of the Blue Economy sector in Seychelles.