Forbes Africa recently recognised Seychelles - 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean - as a pioneer in protecting the beating blue heart of the planet.
The November article highlighted the initiatives of the island nation to promote, conserve and champion the Blue Economy, key not only for an island and coastal states but for states that have waterways.
Blue Economy is an economic initiative that focuses on best practices for businesses while ensuring that sectors promote the safe and sustainable utilisation of ocean and marine resources.
SNA presents a roundup of eight ways Seychelles has earned accolades for its Blue Economy initiative.
November 2018 - Blue Economy Award
President Danny Faure received the Blue Economy Award on African maritime sectors in Kenya from the African Union Commission.
The award, which was presented by the chairperson of the Commission, Moussa Fakki, recognises countries, associations, and individuals who have made significant contributions towards Africa's Blue Economy agenda.
January 2019 - Blue Bond
A campaign was launched to promote the world's first sovereign blue bond, a financial instrument designed to support sustainable marine and fisheries projects said a communiqué from the World Bank Group.
The blue bond, valued at $15 million over 10 years with guarantees from the World Bank and the Global Environment Facility, is to support Seychelles' transition to sustainable fisheries. As one of the world's biodiversity hotspots, Seychelles, with an Exclusive Economic Zone of 1.4 million square kilometres, is balancing the need to both develop economically and protect its natural endowment.
March 2019 - Nekton Mission
Nekton Mission started an underwater expedition to explore the depths of up to 500 meters of Seychelles' waters.
The focus of the research was variability in trophic signatures of zooplankton and food web dynamics within Seychelles' waters.
Ocean Zephyr -- the expedition ship which is a floating research station -- set sail from Seychelles on March 4 for the two-month expedition.
April 2019 - Blue Investment Fund
Investors in Seychelles interested in sustainable marine activities and fisheries projects submitted their proposals to the Development Bank of Seychelles.
The first call for proposals to attract potential investors under the Blue Investment Fund was launched by the Department of the Blue Economy in April.
The blue bonds -- valued at $12 million -- are reserved specifically for value-added fisheries projects such as aquaculture.
The bond also targets projects using bycatch, which is later processed to make value-added products.
April 2019 - President Faure delivers speech 124 meters below sea level
The President of Seychelles, Danny Faure, became the first head of state to deliver a live address from a depth of 124 meters below the ocean surface during a submersible dive.
Faure joined the Nekton expedition at Desroches Island where he received an update on the findings of the expedition.
Speaking to an audience of over 110 million viewers in over 40 countries, Faure said, "At this depth, I can see not only the incredible beauty of our ocean but the care that it urgently needs to stay this way."
May 2019 - Blue Grants launched
Not-for-profit organisations and small businesses in Seychelles started to benefit from the 'blue grant' from Seychelles' Conservation and Climate Adaptation Trust (SeyCCAT).
"The main aim of this programme is to make this trust fund more visible and accessible to the general public at large, but most specifically to entrepreneurs seeking an alternative funding option for their projects" explained Angelique Pouponneau - the Chief Executive of SeyCCAT.
SeyCCAT is a conservation and adaptation trust fund that is available for Seychellois to undertake projects that have as their main purpose as the conservation or management of marine and coastal biodiversity and ecosystem-based adaptation to climate change in Seychelles.
June 2019 - Patrick Payet receives Best Sustainable Finance Solution Award
Seychelles' secretary of state for finance, trade, and investment, Patrick Payet, received the 2019 Best Sustainable Finance Solution Award is given for the first time at the Adam Smith awards gala presentation in London.
"With the knowledge that there were in total 244 nominations from 30 countries represented in the different categories, winning the award is truly a prestige honour," Payet told SNA.
The Best Sustainable Finance Solution, which is a new category for the 2019 Adam Smith Award, recognises the steps companies and organisations are taking to address the environmental, social and governance issues when arranging finance.
July 2019 - Shark Research Institute award for protection of marine areas
The latest award to be received by Seychelles' President Danny Faure is the Ocean Heritage Award from the Shark Research Institute based in the United States in recognition of the protection of the island nation's marine territory.
Faure received the award in recognition of the marine protection of 30 percent of Seychelles' Economic Exclusive Zone and his global advocacy for the ocean and environment conservation.
"I am honoured to receive this award on behalf of the government, and I dedicate it to the people of Seychelles. As a Small Island Developing State being affected by climate change, it is crucial that we work collectively to safeguard our future generations."