Seychelles highlighted its initiatives to sustainably develop its Blue Economy in a panel discussion at the United Nations this week on the opportunities that a Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) for the oceans provides to the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
The side event was organised by the Global Ocean Commission and the Swedish and Fijian permanent missions to the UN on the sidelines of the latest round of the intergovernmental negotiations on the Post-2015 Development Agenda now going on at the UN in New York.
Speaking on the panel, Seychelles’ climate change and Sids ambassador Ronny Jumeau specifically addressed the effects climate change has on oceans and the way oceans influence climate.
While doing so and in answer to questions from the floor he said the US $30 million debt swap Seychelles recently signed to conserve part of its 1.37-million-square-kilometre exclusive economic zone (EEZ) as marine protected areas would also help combat climate change.
This would be through ecosystem-based adaptation (EBA) – such as conserving as much sea grass beds as possible as they are a much better carbon sink than forests – and reducing such stresses on coastal and marine areas as overfishing, marine and land based pollution, and unsustainable development practices among others. This would in turn strengthen the resilience of the ocean to such damaging effects of climate change as warmer sea surface temperatures (which contribute to coral bleaching and help intensify the destructive power of cyclones as happened in Vanuatu in the Pacific recently), ocean acidification and sea level rise.
Furthermore, the debt swap was not an end in itself, but part of a larger marine spatial planning Seychelles is now doing of its entire EEZ so as to have a better idea of the development potential in its waters. It includes all stakeholders involved in activities or with an interest in the country’s marine areas, and will allow a more effective and sustainable development of the country’s Blue Economy.
Ambassador Jumeau suggested that marine spatial planning could be used as a tool by other island and coastal states to better implement an ocean’s SDG and more effectively address the development challenges they face in their respective oceans, seas and marine spaces.