State House

Office of the President of The Republic of Seychelles


President Ramkalawan delivers statement during High-Level Segment of 9th Our Ocean Conference “The Youth are the Beacons of Hope- Agents of Change"

Athens, Greece Wednesday 17 April 2024: The President of the Republic of Seychelles, Mr Wavel Ramkalawan addressed the 9th Our Ocean Conference taking place in Athens Greece, whilst taking part in the Heads of State High-Level Segment held yesterday.

President Ramkalawan made a strong call to all nations as shareholders and successors of the 71% aquatic global heritage of this generation as well as the next to pay heed to the dire need for greater understanding of why and how a change of mindset is required. 

He recognized and commended the global efforts made thus far where oceans are now collectively and overtly being acknowledged, particularly through such forums as the '9th Our Ocean Conference'. 

The Seychelles Head of State, however also reminded the conference of not only the vulnerabilities and challenges of Small Island Developing states (SIDs) but reiterated the message that ocean protection against all anthropogenic ills concerns all nations – ranging from irresponsible resource exploitation to marine pollution, truly concerns everyone, regardless of whether countries are landlocked, island, coastal, developed or developing states. 

“We cannot continue to take for granted earth’s aquatic resources, or to treat our unchartered oceanic space as a bottomless sink for our waste and expect to still thrive at the expense of others, because eventually we will all be affected. 

Adaptability has been lauded as one of the most fundamental survival traits, and it is from this human characteristic that we should yield if we are to turn the tides on our decades of reckless actions. For us to do that, we need to know how to adapt and be willing to do so. In regards to the how, this is where the research comes in, both the scientific and the social, as we are after all dealing with real human beings, with lives and communities.

Hence, the significance of the Ocean Decade Conference that just took place in Barcelona, as part and parcel of the global initiative to bridge not just our knowledge gap, but also the science/policy divide.

As for the willingness to adapt, all the incentives are there, and we just need to sensitize and educate our people about them. We need to change attitudes, get our people involved, put them at the centre of our strategies. We need to effectively communicate and explain to them why we need to do the things we do.

Indeed, changing the mindset takes time, but we need to start somewhere. We need to start with our youth, the beacons of hope who have a good track record with being agents of change." 

In conjuction to this, the President further announced that Seychelles will be piloting a project this year that integrates ocean science in the school curriculum. "Evidently, we have known success in the past with the inculcation of environmental conservation values into our society through our school children. Now, it is high time that we strive to do the same with our ocean science values. And I call upon all of us here present to join us in this endeavour and to become catalysts for unparalleled action.

President Ramkalawan, proudly highlighted Seychelles’ progress with its Marine Spatial Plan and by having already achieved the 30 by 30 milestone ten years ahead of the set global deadline. He subsequently also announced to the conference that in March this year, the National Assembly of Seychelles unanimously gave its stamp of approval to the ratification of the Biological Diversity Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ) Treaty and necessary instruments have already been deposited placing Seychelles the fourth country in the world and first in Africa to have done so. He urged other countries to join cause through the signing, ratification and implementation in order to convert words into actions. 

“We do not only need commitments and pledges but we also need to transform words into deeds. Let this Our Ocean Conference be the nexus where Seychelles and the global community essentially converge to create, expand, and mobilize networks for the sustained health and sustainable use of our oceans. Let this not be just another conference, but a watershed moment in our shared history—a moment when Seychelles and all like-minded nations, large or small, earnestly strive to protect our oceans with a vigor and determination that matches the scale of the challenges we face.

Let me end by going back to Greek mythology that cites Homer in the Iliad referring to Oceanus as the originator and Father of all things. Oceanus was the enormous river that encircled the entire world, giving life from its rushing flood to the sea, the springs and the smaller rivers. May we all be committed to protecting Oceanus, our Ocean. Let our actions speak louder than our words and let us become the architects of a resilient and thriving blue future.”

The Heads of State and Government High-Level Segment also saw statements delivered by the Prime Minister of Greece, His Excellency, Mr Kyriakos Mitsotakis, His All Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the United States Secretary of State, Mr John Kerry, the President of the Republic of Palau, H.E. Surangel S. Whipps, JR, President of the Federated States of Micronesia, H.E. Wesley W. Simina, Prime Ministers, as well as various other senior official.  

Whilst at the conference, the Seychelles delegation had the opportunity to attend various side events and network with other various technical ocean related sessions relevant for Seychelles. 

Read the full Statement of the President via below link: