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Seychelles set to benefit from Blue Nature Alliance initiative |28 April 2021

Seychelles set to benefit from Blue Nature Alliance initiative

Seychelles is set to benefit from the initiative of Blue Nature Alliance to secure protection of large parts of global ocean, former President James Michel has announced on his website.

This new partnership seeks to protect 18 million square kilometres of ocean over the next five years. The Blue Nature Alliance will bring a broad range of stakeholders together to achieve these goals.

“As an Ambassador of the Pew-Bertarelli Ocean Legacy Project, I am happy that Seychelles is included in the initiative and also covers the ocean spaces of many other island nations in the world. This is a laudable initiative which should serve as a catalyst for other leaders of nations and organisations to emulate so that the target of protecting 30 percent of our ocean by 2030 can be achieved earlier,” noted former President Michel.

The ocean covers about 70% of Earth and provides a suite of vital services to humanity, but the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services reports that threats ranging from unsustainable fishing to climate change could leave more than half of marine species at risk of extinction by 2100. Building resilience of our ocean while boosting fisheries, marine-based livelihoods, and economies is possible, in part, through new and expanded marine protected areas (MPAs).

The Blue Nature Alliance ‒ a new partnership between Conservation International, The Pew Charitable Trusts, the Global Environment Facility, Minderoo Foundation, and the Rob and Melani Walton Foundation ‒ is working to conserve 18 million square kilometres over the next five years. 

Shubash Lohani, a project director with Blue Nature Alliance, explains how effective marine protection can help protect the ocean and support people. This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

“The Blue Nature Alliance aims to support the conservation of 18 million square kilometers (6.9 million square miles) through the creation of new protected areas and expansion, improved management, or increased protections in existing ones. The alliance will invest in places that are significant to ocean biodiversity and people with the aim of achieving the highest level of protection possible while recognising the rights of indigenous peoples and working alongside local communities,” said Shubash Lohani.

He added: “In addition to MPAs, Blue Nature Alliance will also support other effective area-based conservation measures, and innovative place-based interventions designed to achieve biodiversity conservation outcomes.

“The alliance is currently working on large-scale efforts in Fiji’s Lau Seascape, Antarctica’s Southern Ocean and Tristan da Cunha to collectively secure protections over 4.8 million square kilometers (1.9 million square miles) of the ocean. Looking forward, we expect to soon partner on initiatives in Canada, Palau, Seychelles and the Western Indian Ocean, which aim to strengthen and enhance the protection of nearly 2 million square kilometres (734,000 square miles) of the ocean. In addition, 18 additional Blue Nature Alliance engagements have been identified across North and South America, Europe, and the Asian Pacific region.

“Conservation depends on collaboration of all ocean stakeholders in establishing and managing the MPAs. It is also important to share that indigenous peoples and local communities are among the most effective stewards of biodiversity, with landmark United Nations and peer-reviewed research documenting their contributions. The Blue Nature Alliance will work to ensure all partners are engaged in designing and implementing projects to safeguard biodiversity and protect and conserve the ocean. The economic benefits of protected areas also extend to people who provide sustainable tourism and those engaged in nearby fisheries, as studies show that MPAs also lead to higher fish populations in neighboring, unprotected areas.”

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Compiled by Vidya Gappy


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