Great Blue Wall initiative: Build resilience in face of common threats, says Seychelles’ President
Seychelles’ President Wavel Ramkalawan said he is pleased to see that the role of the ocean in addressing climate change is now being widely recognised, valued and considered during negotiations and global interactions.
Ramkalawan made the statement in his keynote address at a Great Blue Wall initiative on Monday hosted by Seychelles together with key, instrumental partners like UNECA, IUCN and UNFCCC COP27 High Level Climate Champions.
The theme of the event was ‘Accelerating and Scaling Up Ocean Action in the Western Indian Ocean’ held at the Africa Pavilion at the 27th Conference of the Parties (COP27) taking place in Egypt.
Under the initiative, 10 western Indian Ocean countries, including Seychelles, presented plans last year to establish a network of marine conserved areas
“Today’s event is our opportunity to rekindle our efforts and re-engage with much zeal and commitment to push forward this agenda. […] The Great Blue Wall Initiative is significantly deemed as the nexus of climate change adaptation, conservation, and the Blue Economy – it is the solution to further longevity and prosperity of a ‘Blue’ world,” said Ramkalawan.
The head of state of Seychelles said that advocates, promoters and leaders in this ‘blue’ space, therefore, have to take on this challenge and take on this responsibility in a collective manner.
“It is up to us to build this ‘great blue wall’ and to build resilience through common actions in the face of common threats, for after all, we all share the basic needs to feed our people, our families now and in the future. In order for this need to be effectively satisfied, it is imperative that our environmental integrity remains intact,” he added.
Ramkalawan said that Seychelles greatly welcomed the initiative as being a large oceanic state it truly values and supports initiatives that will advance Sustainable Development Goal 14.
“We strive to ensure that our policies and development plans are centered on conserving and sustainably using our ocean and marine resources to ensure sustainable development. This is why we have greatly welcomed the Great Blue Wall initiative,” said the President.
The Great Blue Wall initiative signifies an epitome of how a symbiotic relationship could exist between conservation and socio-economic development and this is the objective of Seychelles’ blue economy agenda said Ramkalawan.
He added that the initiative “represents a unique opportunity for us to move forth with our ambitions at an unprecedented speed. Now is the time with the support of our partners to lay the stepping stones, and create a wave, a transmissible momentum for ocean-targeted actions that could be embraced by the wider global community.”
Ramkalawan reiterated his full support for this visionary initiative, which is a unique and necessary approach for the region, for Africa and for the world.
“I therefore take this opportunity to convey this plea to you partners and collaborators here today: for us to take this initiative a step further; to rally more support behind this initiative; to go beyond the narratives, and maximize our efforts to translate our vision into tangible actions,” he said.
The Great Blue Wall is an initiative to conserve, restore and sustainably use marine and coastal ecosystems in the western Indian Ocean launched last year at the UN climate change conference (COP26) in Glasgow. Initiated by the regional director of IUCN, Thomas Sberna, the project is supported by James Michel, a former President of Seychelles, and the founder and executive chairman of the James Michel Foundation.