20 January 2016

Seychelles: 'No Man an Island,' Seychellois President Tells Blue Economy Summit

United Arabs Emirates — The second Blue Economy Summit ended Tuesday with a declaration calling on the international community to implement the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goal 14.

Seychelles President James Michel in his address as co-chair alluded to the fact that all of human activity is now interconnected.

"The great English poet, John Donne, said: "No man is an island, entire of itself. Every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main." We islanders are keenly aware of this - in fact, all too aware of this," Michel said.

The summit was the first international platform for discussions after the global environmental meeting in Paris known as COP21 and the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals.

"It is not possible to address sustainable development unless we are also addressing the Blue Economy," said Michel.

Michel's address concentrated on what the Blue Economy can potentially contribute to alleviate poverty in the world, improve the wellbeing of people and give equal access to resources.

The Seychelles archipelago in the western Indian Ocean has been actively promoting the Blue Economy concept since the Rio Summit on sustainable development in 2012. The island nation co-hosted a special conference on the concept in Abu Dhabi last January.

"In Seychelles our transition to the Blue Economy is about empowering our local fisheries industry through the adoption of sustainable practices to create better value addition. We believe that supporting our local entrepreneurs is at the heart of the Blue Economy agenda, because sustainability is not possible without strong local ownership," said Michel.

The summit, under the theme 'One Ocean, One Future,' was co-hosted by Seychelles and Abu Dhabi in partnership with the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO. It was a component of Abu Dhabi's sustainability week.

At the opening ceremony Monday, young innovators were rewarded for providing solutions and technologies that make human life and energy use more sustainable.

The Prime minister of Norway, Gro Harlem Brudtland, received a lifetime achievement award.

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