The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has given its commitment to support the ‘Great Blue Wall Initiative,’ a regionally connected network to develop a regenerative blue economy.
The Great Blue Wall Initiative is a project for the western Indian Ocean countries that intends to adopt an action-driven, oriented and focused approach.
Under the project, seascapes and conservation/restoration sites will be identified based on country priorities, opportunities, existing efforts, local partners’ needs, and availability of funding as well as on the already available science and knowledge.
As such, the Great Blue Wall initiative The IUCN and its partners’ endorsement was announced as one of the key commitments to action at its World Congress, in Marseilles, hosted by France this week.
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.
Michel took part in a high-level dialogue organised by the IUCN. 
“The Great Blue Wall initiative represents a unique opportunity to move forward at an unprecedented speed. Now is the time with the support of our partners to make it a reality. Subsequently, a wave can embrace the wider world. As a supporter, a world influencer and an advocate of the Blue Economy, I today pledge my full support for this visionary initiative,” said Michel.
The western Indian Ocean provides food security, sustains economic growth, regulates the climate, and provides livelihood opportunities for coastal communities across 10 countries –  Comoros, France, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa, and Tanzania.
Michel said that the Great Blue Wall Initiative provides a great opportunity if not a moral compass to act as a global champion for the cause and pave the way towards a blue future.

Michel has been advocating for a sustainable Blue Economy architecture for small islands and coastal states since 2010. (James Michel Foundation)  Photo license: CC-BY

“The Great Blue Wall presents a first of its kind. It is a unique approach for the region, Africa and the world subsequently. It promises to play an instrumental role in helping to achieve a nature-people-positive world. A planet in balance. I believe it can be achieved provided there is political will. Let us make it happen, let us make history, let us make the future,” he added.
Former president James Michel has been advocating for a sustainable Blue Economy architecture for small islands and coastal states since 2010.
He said that when he started it was often a lonely journey plagued with a constant feeling of a lonely voice in the vast ocean.
“Look at us today! Today, it is embraced by the world. The Blue Economy is seen as a driver of conservation and development. We are unlocking its full potential – it can be sustainable, regenerative and people-centre,” said Michel.
He talked about the various initiatives Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, has made which included the world’s first debt for nature swap, a financial architecture to alleviate the debt trap and fund ocean protection and climate mitigation.
Michel concluded in saying that “I see the ocean as the medium of life, and the future of civilisation. I see our great seas as a place that holds the world’s shares of Earth’s natural resources. I see the extent of care that is required to use this precious resource without having to disturb nature’s balance. Above all, way back then, 11 years ago, I saw the architecture of the blue economy concept as the saviour of our planet. Today, this reality is being talked about in the world.”

Source: Seychelles News Agency