World Oceans Day 8 June 2017 Statement by James A Michel, former President of the Republic of Seychelles chair and founder of the James Michel Foundation
As we commemorate World Oceans Day, our thoughts inevitably turn to the mighty oceans that bathe our shores, provide life to our planet, livelihoods and sustenance to humanity.
All too often we tend to forget that the oceans cover 71 percent of our planet’s surface and contain 97 percent of the Earth’s water.
Development, as we know it, can be transformed if we pursue a model of development that is ocean based, in complementarity with land based development. This is especially important for us, Small Island Developing States. We are ocean nations. We are the children of the oceans. The oceans are our life-source, the pulse of our survival, and the catalyst for building a new development model that builds on our strengths whilst reducing our weaknesses. We call this paradigm the “Blue Economy”. And Seychelles, as well as a number of other like-minded nations, are pursuing this new model of development.
The theme for World Oceans Day 2017 is “Our Oceans, Our Future”. It could not be more apt in this day and age when some countries continue with their selfless and destructive practices of polluting our oceans, while others renege on their commitments and deny the reality of climate change with all the risks that this entails for the very survival of humanity.
Our oceans are indeed our future. Today is a global day for ocean celebration and collaboration for a better future. But let us celebrate our oceans and pledge our collaboration for a better future, not only today, but on every day of the year.
Let us do so for our children and their children.