Marine Protected Areas is A Must
Plan the use of the Ocean and work with businesses and communities are key practical advice from Former President James Michel to delegates of the World Ocean Summit taking place in Abu Dhabi.
Addressing the summit through recorded video message, Mr. Michel recommends that the world builds on the experience of land-use planning to create a similar process for the sea. “It is almost inconceivable that most of the world’s seas are still something of a ‘free for all’. As well as the high seas, many of the areas under national jurisdiction remain little more than lines on a map”.
Marine protected areas he argues are not difficult to establish so long as there is political will. Drawing on the example of the Seychelles which is already working a plan towards achieving 30% of its marine territory as protected areas, he foresees a famous victory if the world as a whole can reach the same target, “we still have a long way to go but we can do it”.
Building partnerships with the businesses and communities is also another critical success factor explains Mr. Michel “it is businesses which will see the opportunities to innovate and invest. And it is communities which can give energy and local know-how to make plans work. The best plans are not imposed from above but they grow from within”.
Mr. Michel’s statement followed a debate on the similarities between the land-based Green Economy and the Blue Economy under the theme “Blue is the news Green”. His statement was very well received and was in synch with the opinion of the majority of the delegates that there are indeed a lot of similarities between the two economies.
The discussions focused a lot on the Seychelles model for financing sustainable development, especially the innovative “Blue Bond” which Mr. Michel initiated when he was still President.
Seychelles’ National Blue Economy Roadmap that transcends across all sectors was recommended as a model for other countries to follow.