One Seychelles Celebrates World Environment Day
On this World Environment Day, it is important to reflect on how the environment and our fragile economy are intrinsically linked, said the President of One Seychelles, Alain St.Ange. Seychelles continues to boast pristine beaches and hiking trails, when the reality is that the majority of people flocking to the beaches or up our mountains are unapologetically leaving their rubbish behind.
Our failure to sustain and protect our environment, which is constantly under threat by apathetic citizens, poor enforcement, and weak laws, inevitably undermines our economy. If we cannot sustain the environment, we cannot sustain ourselves (Wangari Maathai).
We owe it to our country and future generations of Seychellois to live more sustainably, for we have One Seychelles, and One chance to save it.
Seychelles has many reasons to celebrate this day for having achieved admirable global status in environmental and nature conservation. A lot of hard and passionate work has been invested in the conservation of the natural beauty that the Good Lord has gifted and entrusted us Seychellois as responsible custodians for the benefit of the world and for generations to come after our relatively brief transit on Earth.
As an islander nature loving populace, it is with much pride that we confidently acknowledge that we have given environmental and conservation challenges a good shot. Today, we are the proud custodians of two World Heritage UNESCO conservation sites of exceptional beauty. We have effectively legislated against the exploitation of threatened and endangered species such as turtles and dolphins and banned the importation of plastics and incentivize the collection and disposal of same in a sustainable manner. We have designated over 50% of our land area as National Parks. More recently, with the global prominence of the “Blue Economy concept” the Republic has successfully legislated its Maritime Spatial Plan the designate 30% of the 1.4 million square kilometers of Exclusive Economic Zone as marine protected areas for sustainable use. Seychelles currently leads the world with the best air quality and the cleanest ocean.
As we move forward, the challenges to remain in pole position on sustainability of both its ‘green and blue’ environmental and socio-economic synergies remain daunting tasks. We have made gross mistakes both on land in in our ocean. May we learn from the mishaps whether premeditated or unforeseen. May the efforts in ‘Environmental-Based Adaptation’ projects across the country continue to see increased involvement of environmentally concerned NGOs, especially the young environmental warriors with the appreciative support of our invaluable internal and external partners.
One Seychelles pays particular attention to positive community involvement of the Seychellois such as the initiative of the Praslin Fishers Association that voluntarily decided not fish in the bay of Baie Ste Anne for the calm period of the year to allow fish to grow within the bay and be available for when it gets rough on the high-seas. This home-grown, community-based initiative is applauded.
We are all aware that our pristine environment is the ‘goose that lays our golden egg’ for our main pillars of our economy whether it is for tourism or fisheries. One Seychelles wishes every Seychellois a reflective and happy environment day.