Speeches

Blue Economy

Keynote Address by President James Michel at the National Stakeholder Dialogue Forum on the Blue Economy

Tue, 09 December 2014

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is not possible to address sustainable development unless we are addressing the Blue Economy.

No discourse today relating to Small Island Developing States, to ocean governance, to management and exploitation of marine resources, is possible without mention of the “Blue Economy”.

We have articulated and propagated this concept. From the Rio Summit on sustainable development in 2012, to the special conference on the Blue Economy that we organised in Abu Dhabi in 2013, to the Samoa summit on Small Island Developing States in 2014 and to the UN Climate summit a few weeks ago, the concept is now firmly established on the international agenda.

And we are all very proud of it!

We are proud of the way in which the world has responded to our people’s call.

Seychelles does not have the most experts, the most economists, the most financial institutionsBut we have a population that understands that the ocean is our way of life. It is our life source. We have a people who understand that our oceans should provide more benefits to our own communities. And we all know that with the right frameworks our oceans can bring transformational development.

Whenever I have spoken internationally on the Blue Economy, I have been convinced that Seychellois are well placed to be the greatest of activists for the Blue Economy.  When I meet the fishermen who are building their own sustainable brands and who have created community partnerships, this conviction grows.

 

When our young people create innovation hubs to share ideas internationally and nationally, I am more inspired.  When our NGOs remind us that we are a ‘large ocean nation’, the momentum for our blue economy goes from strength to strength. And when our private sector is bringing forward innovative public-private partnerships, and seeking to build new revenue streams, my faith in the activism of the Seychellois only grows.

Your presence here today is testament to your commitment to and participation in the Blue Economy.

You represent a wide and diverse range of stakeholders that are actively involved in one way or another in the Blue Economy:  fishermen who harvest our marine resources, the Coast Guard who protect our marine space, workers in the port, scientists, environmentalists, representatives of the tourism industry, academia, civil society and representatives of foreign tuna companies that have found it important to come to Seychelles for this dialogue.

I bid you all a very warm welcome to this forum.

I also take this opportunity to particularly welcome our partners from the Commonwealth Secretariat.  After Seychelles emphasised its desire to develop the Blue Economy at the last CHOGM in Colombo, I express our heartfelt appreciation to the Secretary General and the organisation for assisting us with the expertise to truly harness the full potential of our oceanic space. The Commonwealth experts will help us establish a framework for assessing the opportunities available to Seychelles for diversification and sustainable growth beyond the land-based economy and for assessing Seychelles state of preparedness to realize these opportunities.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Industrial tuna purse-seining activities started around three decades ago with our French and Spanish partners. This led to the transformation of the economy and made the fisheries sector one of the pillars of our economy. Much has been achieved but more remains to be done.

We need to have a more integrated fishing industry where the value chain is reinforced and where shore-based activities are developed with local participation.  I welcome the SAPMER development as an example of public-private partnership that also creates opportunities for local companies.

It is important that nothing is wasted from the sea, that the by-catch is fully utilised, that value addition is increased and that more Seychellois work on industrial fishing vessels.  The industry must be fully integrated to enable more sharing of the wealth by both local and foreign investors.

Mesdames et Messieurs,

Il est clair qu’en adoptant une approche comme on dit en anglais, "business as usual", cela ne nous permettra pas de réaliser ce que nous recherchons. Notre priorité principale doit donc être la durabilité. Et c’est  là où la gestion de nos espaces de sécurité maritimes est si importante, et où nos diverses initiatives visant à créer de nouvelles zones marines protégées et pour également mieux gérer nos stocks, doivent fonctionner de pair.

Nous devons également être prêts à innover et à regarder au delà de ce qui a déjà été essayé et testé.

Lors de ma récente rencontre avec le Président Hollande à Paris, la durabilité et l'innovation étaient au cœur de nos discussions. Je suis heureux de noter que suivant cette visite, l’Agence Française de Développement explorera activement la façon dont elle pourra rendre disponible le financement, à la fois pour le secteur public et le secteur privé.

Par conséquent, je demande également aux banques seychelloises de jouer leur rôle afin de rendre le crédit plus abordable et disponible à nos entrepreneurs du secteur de l’Economie Bleue aux Seychelles.

Nous ne pouvons également nous permettre d’aborder l'Economie Bleue sans bâtir notre résilience au climat. Car en ce moment même où nous sommes en train de nous rencontrer, les négociations sur le changement climatique sont actuellement en cours à Lima, afin d’obtenir un accord juridiquement contraignant. L'approche de l’Economie Bleue est l'une des meilleures voies à travers laquelle les gouvernements du monde peuvent réconcilier, de façon durable, la réduction des émissions avec la croissance économique à long terme.

Ser frer ek ser Seselwa,

Nouvo frontyer ekonomik pour lemonn se losean.

Pour en Seselwa sa i plis ki evidan.  Nou konsyan ki nou annan zis 455 kilomet kare later e ki annefe plis ki 99 poursan nou teritwar se lanmer.  Nou lanmer. Pour nou Seselwa.

Ozordi, nou pe reini pour nou idantifye tou sa bann posibilite e sa ki nou bezwen fer pou ouver sa bann loportinite.

Me nou pa pe komans lo zero.

Mon gouvernman in envesti bokou pour kree nouvo loportinite dan lapes e dan sekter maritim asosye.  Nou’n ouver nouvo por lapes Providans e nou’n kree nouvo lespas pour Seselwa angaz zot dan transformasyon prodrwi lapes.  Se sa ki nou bezwen fer aprezan. E nou pe finaliz plan pour nouvo faz Providans.

Nou’n ouver nouvo por lapes Ile du Port.

Nou’n kree nouvo loportinite pour konpannyen Seselwa angaz zot dan bann diferan lendistri otour lapes semi-endistriyel e endistriyel.

Nou’n ranforsi kapasite nou Sant Formasyon Maritim atraver partenarya avek Sri Lanka pour form plis zenn Seselwa dan sa domenn.

Nou pe war ki mannyer bokou biznes Seselwa pe servi loportinite devlop tourizm lo lanmer.

E nou pe kontinnyen rod tou fason pour kree loportinite pour pep Seselwa.

Anmemtan nou rekonnet ki nou osi annan bokou defi kot i konsern nou lanmer.

Nou pe fer fas menas lo stok serten lespes.

Lapes ilegal i afekte nou kapasite pou protez nou resours.

Problenm piratri in redwi bokou, me nou touzour konsyan ki nou zón zeografik i antoure avek bann pei kot i annan enstabilite ki redwi sekirite lo lanmer.

Nou bann eksportater espadon pe ganny difikilte akse avek marse Eropeen akoz baryer fitosaniter ki pa zis.

E logmantasyon aktivite lanmer i anmenn defi lo zestyon tou sa bann aktivite.

Sa bann defi i parmi bann priyorite ki nou bezwen adrese ozordi.  Me ankor plis, nou bezwen koz lo sa bann loportinite ki nou kapab kree.  Ki nou kapab kree pour nou menm Seselwa.

Por Victoria i deza en sant lapes mazer dan losean endyen.  Me i kapab ofer nou ankor plis.  Dan sekter lapes nou kapab ankor diversifye bann aktivite transformasyon e kree plis reveni baze lo kalite nou prodrwi.  Nou annan loportinite pour nou devlop nou rezo kargo e vin en sant rezyonal distribisyon ek reedistribisyon.

Bokou loportinite i egziste.

Dan domenn akwakiltir, Gouvernman i’n fer en letid resan ki montre ki sa sekter i kapab miltipliy loportinite pour tou grander biznes – bann gran lenvestisman avek partenarya etranze kot i neseser, e Seselwa tou sel kot i kapab, ensi ki loportinite pour sa ki pli pti.

Lenerzi renouvlab atraver lanmer i en sours bokou lentere pour nou tou.  Nou tou nou konnen ki nou napa bokou lespas pour nou met pano soler oubyen tirbin, me lo losean nou napa sa menm kontrent.

 

Sak Seselwa i konnen ki lendistri touristik i nouri nou lekonomi an antye.  Atraver Lekonomi Ble nou kapab anmenn ankor plis diversifikasyon, e ankor loportinite pour nou pep.

Devlopman potansyel nou resours petrol anba nou lanmer i devret osi fer parti nou lanbisyon pou devlop sa Lekonomi Ble.  Nou’n deza fer en kantite zefor pou devlop en kad legal ki asire ki sa sekter potansyel i ganny devlope dan en fason ki pa kree lenpak negatif lo lanvironnman e ki i osi ganny fer dan transparans.  Nou bezwen osi aprofondir refleksyon lo tou bann eleman ki nou bezwen met anplas pour devlop lezot resours mineral ki kapab egziste anba nou lanmer.

Ser partisipan,

Sa foronm ozordi i donn nou ankor en lokazyon pour nou definir nou lavenir.

Nou bezwen apros sa deba avek en lespri ouver.  Nou bezwen pare pour sezi loportinite.

Nou tou nou kapab kontribye.  Napa move lide.  Annou travay ansanm avek en lespri lapartaz e solidarite.

Me nou latas pa pou aret isi dan sa lasal.

Nou refleksyon i bezwen enn ki nou anmenn partou, e annou rod tou fason pou anmenn kontribisyon sorti kot tou dimoun.

Anefe, sa dyalog lo Lekonomi Ble, i pa enn ki zis pour en zenerasyon. I pour nou tou. I pour nou paran e nou gran paran. I pour nou zanfan.

Seselwa in touzour ganny son lavi atraver son lanmer.  E nou konvenki ki Lekonomi Ble i kapab miltipliy ankor sa bann loportinite.

Nou vizyon Lekonomi Ble i fonde lo partisipasyon, kreasyon loportinite e lazistis sosyal.  Sak Seselwa i annan son par ladan.

Mon konvenki ki nou kapab fer li.

Letan mon regard otour mwan ozordi, mon konviksyon i ankor pli for.  Toulezour mon war Seselwa pe leve debrouye pou kree loportinite atraver Lekonomi Ble.

Mon salye bann peser ki’n asosye zot lekor e anmenn pli bon servis anver zot kominote.  Mon salye sa bann biznes ki’n envesti e kree nouvo debousman pour zot prodrwi. Mon salye sa bann met bato ki malgre defi in fer konstri nouvo bato pour kree sa laflot lapes Sesel ki baze lo kalite e lo lapes soutenab. Mon salye sa entreprener ki malgre difikilte pou finans son proze, i persevere akoz li osi i konnen ki nou lavenir i depann lo lafason ki nou kapab maksimiz resours nou losean pou anmenn plis benefis pour nou tou.

Lekonomi Ble i pa zis en lespas kreasyon loportinite sosyo-ekonomik. I osi en mwayen pwisan pou inifye ankor plis nou pep, dan tou son diversite, atraver son bann retonbe, son aktivite ek son benefis.

Lekonomi Ble i en loportinite partaze. I osi en responsabilite partaze.  Pour tou Seselwa. E pour lemonn antye.

Mon remersye zot pour zot latansyon.

 

Editor’s Note

 

  • Translations of the French and Creole sections of the speech are below;

 

 

Ladies and gentlemen,

 

It is clear that a “business as usual” approach will not suffice to allow us to achieve what we wish to achieve.

 

Our first priority must be sustainability.  This is where the management of our maritime safety spaces is so important, and where our various initiatives to create new marine-protected areas and also to better manage stocks must work hand in hand.  We must also be ready to innovate and look beyond what is tried and tested.

 

In my recent meeting with President Hollande in Paris, sustainability and innovation were at the heart of our discussions.  I am pleased that following this visit the Agence Française de Développement will be actively exploring ways in which financing can be made available both for the public and private sector.  I also ask Seychellois banks to play their part to make affordable credit readily available to our Blue Economy entrepreneurs.

 

We also cannot afford to address the Blue Economy without building our climate resilience.  As we speak, negotiations are on-going in Lima on a legally binding agreement on climate change.  The Blue Economy approach is one of the best ways in which the governments of the world can reconcile reducing emissions with sustained long-term economic growth.

 

People of Seychelles,

 

The world’s new economic frontier is the oceans.

 

This is more than evident for all Seychellois. We are conscious of the fact that our landmass occupies an area of just 455 square kilometres but that the ocean represents over 99 per cent of our territory. It is our ocean, for our Seychellois!

 

We are gathered here today to identify all the opportunities that it represents and what we need to do to open up those opportunities.

 

But we are not starting from scratch.

 

My Government has invested heavily in creating new opportunities in fisheries and the related maritime sector activities. We have created a new fishing port in Providence and, in so doing, we have offered opportunities for Seychellois fishermen to add value to their catch. We are now finalising a new phase for the development of Providence.

 

We have also built a new fishing port on Ile du Port.

 

We have created new opportunities for the involvement of Seychellois companies in semi-industrial and industrial fishing.

 

We have strengthened the Maritime Training Centre through a partnership with Sri Lanka for training of our young people in this field.

 

Many more Seychellois businesses are making use of the available opportunities to develop maritime-based tourism activities.

 

But as we continue to create new opportunities for our people, we have to recognise that we face many challenges where our ocean is concerned.

 

We are concerned about diminishing fish stocks.

 

Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU) is also a serious problem.

 

Piracy has been considerably contained but we remain conscious that there are zones of instability that pose a threat to security on the high seas.

 

Seychellois exporters of swordfish face unfair barriers to the European market because of unjust phytosanitary regulations.

 

These are challenges that we need to address and we need to address them now. But more importantly we need to speak of the opportunities that we can create, which we can create for our Seychellois entrepreneurs.

 

Port Victoria is already a major fisheries centre of the Indian Ocean. But it can be much more than this. For instance, in the fisheries sector we can intensify and diversify the transformation of our products and generate more revenue, based on their quality. We can also develop our cargo network to become a regional centre of distribution and re-exportation.

 

Opportunities abound.

 

Where aquaculture is concerned, Government has carried out a study, which demonstrates the multiplier effects of that sector for all types of businesses – from large investments involving foreign partnerships where it is necessary, and Seychellois alone where it is possible, as well as opportunities for small local enterprises.

 

Ocean-based renewable energy is of vital interest for us, given that we do not have sufficient space for solar farms or to erect wind turbines.

 

We are all aware of the importance of our tourism industry. It is the engine of our economy. The Blue Economy can add further diversification to it, creating more revenue and added opportunities for our people.

 

The potential development of our petroleum resources under our seabed should also form part of our ambitions to develop the Blue Economy. We have already invested significant efforts in implementing a legal framework to ensure that developments in that sector do not adversely affect the environment and that they take place in all transparency. We should also consider other mineral resources that could potentially be found beneath our sea.

 

Dear participants,

 

This forum presents yet another opportunity for us to chart our future.

 

We need to keep an open mind. We need to prepare ourselves to seize all available opportunities.

 

We can all contribute to the discussions. There are no taboo subjects. Let us all work together in the spirit of sharing and solidarity.

 

Our work does not end here, however.

 

We need to disseminate the conclusions and recommendations that we have reached here, as well as take into consideration the views of the public at large.

 

This dialogue on the Blue Economy is not just for one generation. It concerns us all. It concerns our parents and grandparents. It concerns our children.

 

The sea has always been a source of livelihood for the Seychellois. The Blue Economy, we are all convinced, can increase substantially the opportunities from it.

The Blue Economy we are aiming for is about participation, the creation of new opportunities and social justice. Every Seychellois has a stake in it.

 

I am convinced that we can achieve our objectives.

 

I am even more convinced when I see what is happening around me. I see everyday more Seychellois assuming their responsibilities to create more opportunities for themselves through the Blue Economy.

 

And at this point I would like to pay tribute to the fishermen who have joined together in associations and brought better services to their respective communities. I pay tribute to all those enterprises that have invested and created new outlets for their products. I pay tribute to the owners of fishing vessels who, in spite of numerous challenges, have not hesitated to create a Seychelles fishing fleet, based on quality and sustainable fishing. I also pay tribute to the Seychellois entrepreneur who, in spite of the difficulties in raising funds for their project, perseveres, knowing that our future depends on our ability to maximise the potential of our resources from the ocean in order to bring more benefits for us all.

 

The Blue Economy is not just a space for the creation of soci-economic opportunities. It is also a powerful means to further foster our unity, in all our diversity, through its spinoffs, its activities and benefits.

 

The Blue Economy is a shared opportunity. It is also a shared responsibility. For us Seychellois.  And for the whole world.

 

Thank you.

 

 

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