Minister Flavien Joubert attends the 10th Conference of the Parties of the Nairobi Convention

The Conference of Parties (COP) is the decision-making forum of the Nairobi Convention where policies and strategies are agreed on to continue the protection, management, and development of the Western Indian Ocean.

The Tenth Meeting of Conference of Parties to the Nairobi Convention (COP10) is a platform to reflect on the progress made by Contracting Parties in protecting the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) region since the last Conference in 2018 which was held in Mombassa. The Conference’s discussions centered around opportunities to renew commitment for a multilateral process to take timely and effective actions to protect, develop, and manage the Western Indian Ocean and to strengthen partnerships to boost recovery and resilience following the COVID-19 pandemic.

COP10 was organized in two main segments: a partners, experts, and national Focal Points meeting on 23-24 November 2021 in which 3 technicians from both Departments (Environment and Climate Change).  During the focal points meeting Mrs. Nanette Laure the Nairobi Convention National Focal point for Seychelles presented and sought the support of contracting parties on the Western Indian Ocean Resilience and Prosperity Initiative (WIO-RPI) a new initiative being put forward by the Government of Seychelles.  The initiative is expected to be developed as a Nairobi Convention project.

Minister Joubert attended the second segment of the COP which was the Heads of Delegation meeting held on 25 November 2021.

During the Heads of Delegation meeting, Contracting Parties reviewed the status of implementation of the Convention’s Work Programme for the 2018 – 2021 period, reviewed and approved the propose Work Programme for the period 2022–2024 and budget, and deliberate on decisions.

In his intervention Minister Joubert expressed his appreciation to all heads of Government representatives for their commitment and participation in the virtual meeting. He also highlighted that Seychelles as a Small Island State is keenly aware of the power and importance of the Western Indian Ocean to our livelihoods.

“We are a country whose Exclusive Economic Zone of 1.3 million square kilometers dwarfs our land area of only 425 square kilometers, meaning that our current and future prosperity is inextricably linked to our marine and coastal assets. As such, the Seychelles is committed to achieving the Nairobi Convention’s vision of a prosperous Western Indian Ocean region with healthy rivers, coasts and oceans. Since the last COP, we’ve worked hard to make this vision a reality, including by designating 30% of our marine and coastal areas as protected.” Said Minister Joubert

Minister Joubert pointed out the devastating effects of climate change on Island State which transforms our way of life. He also mentioned that in the recent COP26 of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, which was held in Glasgow Uk, in November, Seychelles pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 26.4%, and protect 100% of its mangrove and seagrass ecosystems by 2030, as these habitats store huge quantities of blue carbon.

“To mention a few other highlights, the Seychelles is developing a marine litter action plan and strategy, which will be presented to our cabinet in May 2022. We are also implementing two demonstration projects under the WIOSAP project, one on improving water quality by use of a Constructed Wetland Wastewater Treatment facility at a farm on Mahe, and another on wetland rehabilitation in Pasquiere on Praslin Island.” Said Minister Joubert

Minister Joubert during his statement provided further Information on the WIO-RPI and again stressed in the need for countries to support the initiative. so as to further ensure the sustainability of the Wester Indian Ocean.

The initiative has four main focus areas 1) to enhance marine science, 2) harness a sustainable blue economy, 3) strengthen natural resilience and restoration, and 4) advance ocean governance.

“WIO-RPI’s goal is to create an ambitious new regional ocean policy and strategy to continue to support sustainable ocean development that is underpinned by science-based management and protection. The initiative will build on various interventions being implemented by the Convention such as the development of a regional ocean governance strategy and the establishment of a Multi-stakeholder initiative to support ocean governance and sustainable blue economy aspirations in the region; and those of other partners across the region for synergy and enhanced impact.” Said Minister Joubert

Minister Joubert ended his intervention by announcing that during the virtual discussions, Seychelles seeks to secure an endorsement from fellow Contracting Parties which will then path the way to develop the WIO-RPI policy and strategy in detail for ratification and endorsement at the next Conference of Parties.