Initially, Seychelles had committed to protecting at least 50 percent of its seagrass and mangrove ecosystems by 2025 and 100 percent by 2030. (Jeanne Mortimer)
(Seychelles News Agency) – Seychelles is heading in the right direction to protect 100 percent of its mangroves and seagrass next year, President Wavel Ramkalawan told reporters on Sunday.
He told reporters that “we are already headed in that direction and it is just that we have brought our date forward.”
Ramkalawan made the initial announcement in his statement at the high-level segment for heads of state and government in the 27th Conference of the Parties (COP27) which took place in Egypt.
Initially, Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, had committed to protecting at least 50 percent of its seagrass and mangrove ecosystems by 2025 and 100 percent by 2030.
“I am determined for Seychelles to go in that direction and early next year we will do it. The reason that I made the announcement at such an important summit is to show the world what Seychelles is going to do,” Ramkalawan explained.
He said that this “will be added to the 32 percent of protecting our oceans, our bans on single use plastics and our steps we are taking in industrial fishing all these show that Seychelles is a serious partner in environment conservation.”
He also spoke of more optimism following this year’s Conference of the Parties (COP27) “as this time the talks have been a bit more focused and we are not only talking about protecting the planet in general.”
The Association of Small Island States (AOSIS) of which Seychelles is a member is calling for the Multi Vulnerability Index (MVI), which is important to Seychelles as well as just transitions from fossil to renewable energy.
He said that if this agenda can be developed in a more specific way, then it will make it easier for Seychelles to hold talks with international organisations.
“Instead of only saying we need financing to protect the environment, we can come in with pictures of Remire Island for instance, showing that houses that were once on the beach are now in the sea,” he said, giving an example of how climate change affects Seychelles.
Seychelles, with an Exclusive Economic Zone of 1.4 million square kilometres, has one of the most biologically diverse marine ecosystems on the planet 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.