Minister’s Speech in Celebration of International Biodiversity Day 2020

Minister’s Speech in Celebration of International Biodiversity Day 2020

Today, May 22nd marks the annual celebration of the International Biodiversity Day. This year’s theme “Our solutions are in nature” echoes the true value of Biodiversity and the importance of working together at all levels to build a future  life in harmony with nature. It is a day to reflect the many benefits it affords us as we are completely dependent on healthy and vibrant ecosystems. This year’s theme as set by the Convention on Biological Diversity looks at how human can put biodiversity at the heart of all its actions through 4 main platforms:   science and knowledge; conservation and protected areas; food and nutrition; people and culture.

Here in Seychelles, Biodiversity produces our food, secures our health and underpins our livelihoods and economies. Our beautiful beaches, vast ocean and lush forests provide us with a sense of identity. Seychelles stands out from the rest of the world because it remains committed and continues to take bold moves to safeguard its biodiversity. The country’s marine ecosystem is the foundation of its economy. Through the Seychelles Marine Spatial Plan Initiative, the country has this year legally designated one third (c.f. 30%) of its ocean territory as Marine Protected Areas reaching the UN Sustainable Development Goal 14 10 years ahead. In addition, a number of conservation measures have been put in place to ensure that our forests, wetlands, coral reefs and coastlines, will not only protect us but will also become more species rich and retain nature’s diversity.

The planet is in the midst of Earth’s sixth mass extinction and humans are the driving factor. In a world that faces continued climate change, illegal wildlife trade, biosecurity threats and illegal fishing, Seychelles continues to stand with the rest of the conservation community to protect its environment from both anthropogenic and natural threats.

As we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and adapt to the new normal lifestyle, our approaches to raise awareness about environmental protection has temporarily shifted but our goals remain the same. For the first time ever, activities to celebrate International Biodiversity Day has gone digital. During this week the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change and partner organizations, the Seychelles Conservation and Climate Adaptation Trust (SeyCCAT), University of Seychelles (Unisey), Marine Conservation Society of Seychelles MCSS , Seychelles Islands Foundation (SIF) and Nekton have come together to organize activities via social media and radio stations. Biodiversity facts have been posted in the Seychelles Nation since the beginning of the week and SIF has a Bioblitz challenge planned for this weekend. Members of the public have also had a chance to view videos by Seychellois and our international partners about the importance of biodiversity and the work they are doing.

The activities organized reiterate that despite the current pandemic, 2020 remains a year of reflection, opportunity and solutions for biodiversity. Reversing biodiversity loss requires all of us to be leaders within our own spheres of influence- in our homes, our places of work, our circle of friends, in schools and our communities.

The Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change continues to work with its partners to ensure that biodiversity conservation remains a top priority for the country. Ensuring that our future generations have access to nature is critically important. 100 years from now, our nation must be able to look back and be proud of the many achievements and benefits biodiversity conservation has brought.

Visit our social media sites and follow the 2020 International Biodiversity Day activities.