State House

Office of the President of The Republic of Seychelles


President Ramkalawan delivers opening remarks at the Ocean Decade Alliance meeting

“ There is strength in numbers and some tasks are only surmountable through collaborative efforts.,” says President Wavel Ramkalawan in relation to strengthening the collaboration to address ocean challenges

Barcelona, Spain, 9 April 2024: Following his arrival in Barcelona, Spain this morning, to participate in the United Nations  (UN) Ocean Decade Conference 2024 , the President of the Republic of Seychelles, Mr Wavel Ramkalawan as one of the Patrons of the Ocean Decade Alliance, delivered the opening remarks at the Ocean Decade Alliance meeting which took place earlier this afternoon ahead of the main conference. 

During his remarks, President Ramkalawan highlighted the sustained commitment of the Government and the people of Seychelles towards the protection and sustainable development of its aquatic resources and efforts to join the world in a collective action to resolve the world’s most pressing ocean challenges. 

“Seychelles, which is categorized as a Small island State, is essentially a large oceanic state that faces many ocean related challenges. These include, but are not limited to: rise in sea level(high tide of over 2m today), coral reef degradation, overfishing, illegal fishing practices, marine pollution, limited expertise and technology, lack of funding, and data unavailability and accessibility. The list is indeed long.

However, we embrace these challenges with vigour and we do our best with what we have. Yes, we do voice out our concerns on all available platforms, punching way above our weight at the international level because we are committed to protecting our oceans. This does not mean that we want to shift the blame or responsibility onto others. Rather, we do so because we want to see collective actions and solutions to the problems our planet is facing. 

At the end of the day they are common to us all and if left unchecked will affect us all and have severe consequences to our existence. We are also not afraid to acknowledge our limitations and to ask for help. We cannot achieve much on our own. There is strength in numbers and some tasks are only surmountable through collaborative efforts. The Kenyan spirit of Harambe, let us pull together, must remain the life giving beacon in these times." said President Ramkalawan. 

Aside from the challenges, President Ramkalawan also made reference to the great strides Seychelles’ has made through its regional recognition as a blue economy pioneer, initiating the first Blue Bonds, exchange for debt in environment protection, already clocking the 30/30/30 and Seychelles identified a as a resolute regional player showing leadership across various areas of ocean governance. 

“We have also made notable progress in ocean science research. We have set-up our own Blue Economy Research Institute. We have more recently collaborated with renowned research entities, such as the Monaco Explorations and the Ocean X. We are also integrating ocean literacy and sustainable ocean management in our curriculum. Equally important to note is that, we have ratified the BBNJ treaty, making us the first African state to do so and the third worldwide. 

Ocean sustainability is at the core of the Seychelles’ development agenda, and features prominently in the country’s diplomatic outreach, making it a key actor in mobilizing Indian Ocean countries and SIDS more generally into supporting and contributing towards the Ocean Decade” stressed President Ramkalawan.

Also present to address the forum during the welcoming segment was the United Nations Secretary General Special Envoy for Ocean, Ambassador Peter Thomson.  

This was followed by interventions by various Ocean Decade Alliance members, namely the Secretary of State, Foreign Affairs, Norway, Ms. Maria Varteressian, Associate Deputy Minister, Fisheries and Oceans, Canada, Mr. Kevin Brosseau, IOC and UNESCO Executive Secretary, Mr. Vidar Helgesen.

The session also included open discussion on priority topics such as; (i) Reinforcing contributions of the Decade to key global policy frameworks, (ii) Preparing the road from Barcelona to 2025 United Nations Ocean Conference, (ii) Reflections on priority actions and working modalities for Alliance and looking beyond 2025, (iv) what will be the legacy of the Ocean Decade and what needs to be done to attain set priorities.

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