Message of the Minister for Environment Energy and Climate Change on the occasion of World Environment Day 2020
Every year we celebrate World Environment Day on the 5th of June with the rest of the world. It is the day dedicated by the United Nations to promote awareness and actions for the environment. It reminds us about the need to reflect on the state of our environment and to take actions to restore and improve the environment.
The day provides us with an opportunity to inspire positive changes amongst each and every one of us, to reflect on our behaviours, about the way we consume and dispose of our waste, encourage businesses to develop and adopt greener models and sustainable practices. It also calls on governments to protect even more of nature and for us to continue to educate and inspire the younger generation to live more in harmony with the nature.
“To care for humanity, we must care for nature,” the Secretary-General of the United Nations said in his message to commemorate this year’s Environment Day. It is time to put nature at the heart of all decision making.
This year’s focus is on biodiversity. Biodiversity is the variety of life on earth. We have been depending on biodiversity since the dawn of human civilization. They provide us with the food we eat, the air we breathe, and the water we drink. They provide us with ecological, economic and social support. We have been altering the ecosystems more rapidly and extensively than ever, to meet rapidly growing demands for resources along with economic development. The earth’s natural environment is being stressed to the point that some ecosystems are breaking down with one million species risk extinction.
On top of this, climate change and its impacts on our lives continue to worsen, and here in Seychelles it is no exception. We continue to experience changing weather patterns, heavier rainfalls and longer periods of drought, higher tides and increasing coastal erosion and degradation.
As the world goes through the COVID-19 pandemic, there has never been a greater time to take more critical actions for nature. This year as everywhere else, we will celebrate and most of the activities will happen virtually on social media platforms but we hope everyone will participate and engage with us as we celebrate Environment Day.
Even in these challenging times, as a country we are continuing with our efforts to better protect biodiversity and nature. In March this year, we designated 30% of our Exclusive Economic Zone as marine protected areas, one of the largest in the world. On land we continue with our efforts to expand our protected areas network to above the present 47% and we remain confident that in the coming years we will surpass 50% terrestrial protection. We continue to work on our policies and laws to ensure better and more effective protection and management of nature for the benefit of our people and humanity. Despite our size we continue to take bold and decisive actions for the environment. We continue to lead.
The government will continue to do its part, however the biggest difference and effort should come from each and every individual through our day-to-day behaviours and practices. Unfortunately a small portion of our population continues to disrespect and destroy nature through actions like poaching of rare and threatened species as well as littering and illegal disposing of waste in the natural environment. It is high time we change our behaviours and lead by example for our children and younger generations to follow. I would like on behalf of the government to extend our sincere appreciation to everyone who is working tirelessly to protect the environment and defend nature. We thank you for your hard work and dedication. If we want to care for ourselves, for our children we must care for nature.
When we destroy biodiversity we are destroying the same systems that supports our existence. Biodiversity provides for us so we need to protect it,
The challenges will continue however together we can act #ForNature
Happy Environment Day!