Tue, 05 October 2021
Seychelles experience of the Blue Economy from concept to roadmap, and beyond, was central to the webinar under the theme “Revealing what works for Investment Decisions in the Blue Economy: Experience from Island States”. Former President James Michel who delivered the keynote address at the start of this virtual meeting shared his own experiences from the time he tried to woo his cabinet’s and public support of the concept to the concept being adopted and turn into action across the globe.
Michel, told delegates how the country had to renegotiate its debt with Paris Club creditors through the debt swap, an innovative financing model where the county’s’ debt was bought by The Nature Conservancy, which in turn made the money available to the Seychelles through, the Seychelles Climate Change and Adaptation Trust (SEYCCAT) in the form of a loan. “The repayments in local currency of the government were channeled through SEYCCAT back to The Nature Conservancy. This Debt for Nature Swap to restructure the country’s national debt in exchange for ambitious marine conservation as part of a national marine spatial plan was a first of its kind and provided the government with the funds required to maintain, conserve and protect its biodiversity hotspots and sustainable marine resource management and utilization activities and response to climate change”, he explained.
The webinar which took place today was organized by the Knowledge collaboration Platform of the Asian Development Bank (ADB). It is a platform for sharing development experience and expertise, best practice, and technology relevant to the Sustainable Development Goals. Other panelist included Belinda Bramley, an Associate of NLA International (a Blue Economy Solutions Company) and top officials of the ADB.
“I hold up our work in the Seychelles, as a model for Small Island Developing States that may be used as template considering the specificities of each SID. I consider our Blue Economy story as a spark that might eventually burst into a flame. I know that the situation with many nations is not dissimilar to ours. This is why I believe firmly that we must trust each other and help each other as a matter of choice – not of convenience. That is why we must collectively acknowledge that blue is the new green. That is why we must work together to chart the uncharted. The ocean is not merely the last frontier but it is very well our only future, Michel concluded.
Delegates also had the opportunity to put questions directly to Mr. Michel through a ‘question and answer’ session.