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Seychelles’ President calls on all partners to rally their support and to turn vision into tangible actions to further initiate the The Great Blue Wall (GBW) - Accelerating and Scaling Up Ocean Action in the Western Indian Ocean

09 November 2022 | Foreign Affairs

On the sidelines of the 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27, President Wavel Ramkalawan participated in the High-level segment of The Great Blue Wall (GBW) - Accelerating and Scaling Up Ocean Action in the Western Indian Ocean, co-hosted by the Government of Seychelles, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa(UNECA),International Union for Conservation of Nature(IUCN), and High-level Climate Change Champion. The Great Blue Wall is an African-led initiative to counteract the effects of climate change and global warming while unlocking the potential of the blue economy to become a driver of nature conservation and sustainable development outcomes. The event took place at the Sharm El-Sheikh International Convention Center (SHICC) - Africa Pavilion, Egypt.

The side event comes at the backdrop of ongoing high-level engagements launched at the UNFCCC COP26 with an aim to catalyse political momentum, financial support and action commitments towards the acceleration and upscaling of ocean actions under the umbrella of the Great Blue Wall initiative. Furthermore, it sets out how international partners from government, private sector and civil society can support the initiative.

In his keynote address President Ramkalawan expressed how Seychelles is honoured to host this event alongside key, instrumental partners like the (UNECA),(IUCN) and UNFCCC COP27 High Level Climate Champions. He noted the commitment of all parties to initiate the GBW at the different international events, namely; ‘One Ocean Summit’ in Brest and at the ‘Ocean Conference’ in Portugal.

“Hence, 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,” he added.

“I am pleased to see that the role of the ocean in addressing climate change is now being widely recognized, valued and considered during our negotiations and global interactions. Ocean-based mitigation and adaptation on a world-wide scale cannot materialize in the absence of global collaboration and partnerships. We, 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,” the President insisted.

The Head of State further underlined how Seychelles, as a large oceanic state, values and supports initiatives that will advance SDG 14. Ultimately, how Seychelles strives to ensure that policies and development plans are centered on conserving and sustainably using the ocean and marine resources to ensure sustainable development, thus why promoting the the Great Blue Wall initiative.

“It is a known fact that aquatic resources, the likes of rivers, lakes, seas and oceans are the world’s biggest asset, for they cover about 71% of the earth’s surface. We cannot ignore the fact that it is us who depend on these resources, and now more than ever, we need to gear our efforts towards the protection and the sustainable use of these resources. The Great Blue Wall initiative signifies an epitome of how a symbiotic relationship could exist between conservation and socio-economic development. This is the objective of Seychelles’ blue economy agenda,” said President Ramkalawan.

He added, “The Great Blue Wall 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. In this increasingly interconnected world that we live in, we are in dire need of global initiatives like the Great Blue Wall, which strives to create high level allegiance for the salvation of our global heritage.”

The Head of State further reiterated his personal support to this visionary initiative, which he stated 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.”

In concluding, the President thanked everyone who has played an instrumental role to organise this event, especially to strategic partners, IUCN and UNECA, who have demonstrated unwavering support from the outset.

“Let us be reminded that regardless of our individual limitations, together we may achieve the seemingly unattainable! So, let us together build this Great Blue Wall, let us create hope for the future, and leave behind a legacy that we can all be proud of!”

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