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2018, augusztus 16 - 07:00

VP Meriton hands Unesco award on ocean to former President Michel


“I would like to dedicate this award to the people of Seychelles. I did not do it alone. I did it together with the Seychellois people.”

This was what former President James Michel said after accepting the ‘Ocean 8, One Planet, One Ocean’ award from Vice-President Vincent Meriton at the James Michel Foundation at Espace building yesterday afternoon.

This award was in recognition of his and Seychelles’ hard work in championing the blue economy concept and for the sustainable management of the ocean.

The award was handed over to VP Meriton by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of Unesco (IOC) at the recent high level Ocean Conference in New York, United States of America

It aims to celebrate the champions who are working to build the global cooperation on ocean science needed to protect our shared ocean. It recognised Mr Michel’s leading role among small island states and other countries of the world in ocean conservation where he has managed to put the question of the ocean sustainability on the world agenda of development.

The ocean conference was organised by the United Nations in New York from June 5 to 9 and it supported the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development with the aim to be the game changer that will reverse the decline in the health of our ocean for people, planet and prosperity.

This will be solutions-focused with engagement from all.

Present at the ceremony yesterday were other members of the James Michel Foundation and partners from the local blue economy sectors.

“If today we are playing a leading role among small island states and other countries across the world in ocean management, it is all due to one man, a man who dreamed of putting issue relating to the ocean on the world’s development agenda. Mr Michel thank you for the role you played. Thank you for daring to put the ocean forward when many people thought it would not be a success,” said VP Meriton before handing Mr Michel the award.

Mr Meriton said what came out loud at the conference was that small island states were valued and the leading role of Seychelles relating to small island states and its management of the ocean was given prominence. This, he said, was showcased through calls for presentations and/or sharing of experience of our innovative ways in the protection of the environment, management of our oceanic space or of the means of financing as Seychelles has graduated from being a middle income country to a high income one and therefore does not really qualify for grants or other forms of financial help.

Seychelles, with Mr Michel at the helm, was chosen among eight countries which have been decorated for their pivotal roles in ocean management.

Thanking Mr Meriton for accepting the award on his behalf, Mr Michel said it recognises the hard work Seychelles has done in the promotion of the blue economy and the economy of the ocean managed in a sustainable way.

Mr Michel expressed his hope of seeing Seychelles continue to bring forward the blue economy concept and continue with innovative ideas like the ‘debt swap’ initiative.

He believes Seychelles has a bright future, not only in continuing to develop its oceanic resources but to remain as an example for the world.