The Future is Blue; the Future is Our Oceans - Seychelles One-Day World Ocean Conference
The James Michel Foundation commemorates World Oceans Day through a one day conference on the economic opportunities that the oceans present and the need to keep our oceans healthy so that they can continue to take care of mankind.
Some 75 young students from Secondary 4 up to university level attended the conference at the Espace Building which houses the offices of the Foundation.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, in the presence of the Vice President of the Republic, Mr. Vincent Meriton, the Executive Chairman of the Foundation, Former President James Michel said the conference is another example of the foundation’s commitment to promote the blue economy concept. He spoke of the myriad opportunities that the Blue Economy offers to the youth and to future generations. “I remain deeply convinced that the success of the Blue Economy rests in unleashing a new generation of entrepreneurs, researchers and scholars who can match the impact and vision of the likes of Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg of the Information age. We need to empower our youths to think big and to realise the full potential that our oceans hold”.
The Future is Blue. The Future is Our Oceans stated Mr. Michel.
“I do not want to take undue credit for the Blue Economy concept, however take great pride in the role that I played in its conceptualisation, development and promotion. In particular, I derive immense pleasure from the fact that the Blue Economy concept is now a permanent fixture of both our national agenda and the international agenda”, he added.
In his keynote address, the Principal Secretary for Fisheries and Agriculture, Mr. Jude Talma highlighted the importance of the blue economy and its benefits as well as challenges in the Seychelles context.
The conference saw presentations from 13 different public organisations and NGOs directly or indirectly involved with the blue economy. The students had very interesting and pertinent questions especially in relation to job opportunities and coral rehabilitation. They also came up with a few suggestions for the presenters.
The conference was aimed at sensitising students on the potentials of our coastal and marine zones in terms of employment and business opportunities, as they prepare for the world of work, and the importance of sustainably manage, protect and preserve our ocean now, for the sake of present and future generations.
The first half of the day focused on the economic potentials through a series of quality presentations by various stakeholders in the public and private sectors. The afternoon comprised of presentations on the oceans as life supporting system through presentations and a panel discussion.
World Oceans Day was officially established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2008 to be celebrated worldwide on 8th of June annually to resolve the ocean issues and save ocean water.