UNESCO honours President Michel and the Seychelles in a ceremony to recognise 8 Nations as Global Champions of Ocean Science
The Seychelles, Norway, and the United States were among eight countries and organizations honoured today for their contribution to global ocean science by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC) at the UN Ocean Conference in New York on Tuesday 6th June in a ceremony called ‘Oceans 8’.
The Republic of the Seychelles and the leadership of former President of the Seychelles, James Alix Michel, were recognized as an “Ocean’s 8 Champion” for developing an innovative debt swap scheme that has enabled this small island developing nation to finance local ocean science and climate resilience programmes.
President Michel said he hopes this high-level recognition will help to highlight the benefits of applying innovative financing solutions to support ocean science activities around the world.
“It is a great honour for Seychelles to be recognized by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO for our work for this gives us an international platform to show the world an innovative model for financing ocean science and conservation work,” he said in a video message from his office in Seychelles, presented at the ceremony.
The Director General of UNESCO, Mrs. Irina Bokova, presented the certificate of honour to the Vice-President of the Republic of Seychelles, Vincent Meriton, who was present during the ceremony and accepted the recognition on behalf President Michel and on behalf of the Government and people of Seychelles.
“President Michel has championed the Blue Economy ever since its inception and I think it is only fitting that he and the Republic of Seychelles, should also partake in this celebration. I should also mention that without the support of our international partners; The Nature Conservancy, the Global Island Partnership (GLISPA) and the Commonwealth, we would not have reached where we are,” said Vice-President Meriton after receiving the UNESCO recognition.
The “Ocean’s 8” ceremony honouring the champions of ocean science was also supported by: the United Nations General Assembly; UN Environment; Sky TV’s Sky Ocean Rescue Campaign; and the Governments of Iceland and Peru.
In response, Former Prseident Michel has written to Dr Irina Bokova, the Director General of UNESCO, and to the Intergovernmental Oceanic Commission of UNESCO to express his appreciation to them for recognising him as an “Ocean’s 8 Champion”. The ceremony took place at the United Nations Conference on Oceans on Tuesday 6 June 2017.
Dedicating this award to the people of Seychelles, President Michel said that he considered this to be a recognition of Seychelles’ efforts to actively promote the “Blue Economy” concept as a new paradigm of development, as well as the country’s endeavour to develop an innovative debt swap scheme that will enable Seychelles to finance local ocean science and climate resilience programmes.
The former president concluded his letter to Dr Bokova by expressing the hope that the sustainable use and management of oceans as well as respect for the environment will help shape the future of humanity and ensure its survival.
The full list of 8 countries and organizations have been honoured as champions of ocean science in the following categories:
1. Development of innovative financing solutions for ocean science - The Republic of the Seychelles
2. Developing professional capacity in ocean science - Norway
3. Supporting science-based solutions to reduce ocean plastics UN Environment’s #CleanSeas Campaign
4. Supporting gender equality in ocean science - Morocco
5. Supporting sustained national investment in ocean science - Argentina
7. Supporting international cooperation in ocean science - Portugal
8. Supporting investment in ocean science infrastructure for the benefit of the global community - United States of America
9. Promoting education and outreach on ocean science - Nippon Foundation