Seychelles will move to 100 percent protection of all its mangroves and seagrass meadows in 2023, adding to the already 32 percent protection of its ocean and 50 percent of its forest, President Wavel Ramkalawan said on Monday.
Ramkalawan made the announcement in his statement at the high-level segment for heads of state and government in the 27th Conference of the Parties (COP27) taking place in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.
“Like other islands, we contribute less to the destruction of the planet, yet we suffer the most. For example, the carbon emissions of Seychelles are very low, and we clean up through our mangroves and seagrass meadows, thus making us a zero contributor to the destruction of the planet, yet our islands are disappearing and our coasts are being destroyed,” he said.
Seychelles has one of the most biologically diverse marine ecosystems on the planet while the carbon ecosystems cover over two million hectares, with seagrass beds accounting for 99 percent of the blue carbon extent. The other carbon ecosystem in the island nation is mangrove forests with more than 80 percent located within the Aldabra atoll.
Ramkalawan took the opportunity to express Seychelles’ support and solidarity with all nations that have experienced the terrible effects of climate change lately.
The head of state of Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, asked if the Conference of the Parties is a counting game or a real countdown to saving the planet.
“I pray that we leave Egypt with good decisions and pledges that will be followed by concrete actions instead of another set of empty promises,” he said.
Ramkalawan reiterated the need for the Multi Vulnerability Index (MVI) to be the new order as “SIDS [Small Island Developing States] are vulnerable and we need access to concessionary funding in order to defend ourselves against climate change while fulfilling the SDGs [Sustainable Development Goals] to give our people a better life.”
“Industrialised nations must pay greater attention to the Damage and Loss agenda. We, the oceanic states that receive the harsh effects of your activities, have to be assisted in repairing the damage you cause to us,” he added.
Ramkalawan said that Seychelles is playing a leadership role and building strong partnerships however small the island nation is.
He spoke about the Ocean Race Summit the island nation hosted to discuss the urgency of saving the ocean.
“Later we offered the venue for the first European Blue Invest Forum outside Europe to put emphasis on financing the Blue Economy and late last month we welcomed Prince Albert of Monaco and the Monaco research expedition in the search for resilient corals, plus we are active in promoting the Great Blue Wall project,” he said.
“Let us be good partners, let us give our youth a better planet and may we leave Egypt with enhanced hope and commitment to save our one and only blue planet,” Ramkalawan concluded.