By Dipo Olowookere
Seychelles received a round of applause in New York today from a group of ambassadors to the United Nations dedicated to promoting the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG14) on the conservation and use of oceans and seas for sustainable development.
The Group of Friends of Oceans and Seas (GoFOS) congratulated Seychelles after its Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Ronny Jumeau, reported on the country’s success in finalising more than $40 million in innovative financing in 2016-2017 for implementing SDG14 and developing the blue economy.
The ambassadors said Seychelles was “leading the way” in finding new sustainable ways of financing the conservation and sustainable use and development of the oceans under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the SDGs and the Paris Agreement on climate change.
GoFOS is an informal group of Permanent Representatives of some 40 countries from all the UN’s five regional groupings (Africa, Asia-Pacific, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Western Europe and Others).
They include more than a dozen members of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS). Known as small island developing states (SIDS) within the UN, many of them are large ocean states like Seychelles when they factor in their exclusive economic zones (EEZ).
SDG 14 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals is to “conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development”.
The World Bank and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) last month announced a package of more than $20m in loans and grants for sustainable fisheries and conservation of marine resources in Seychelles.
A portion of these funds will enable Seychelles to issue the world’s first blue bonds for sustainable fisheries by the end of the year.
The funding package follows a first-of-its-kind $21.6m debt swap Seychelles concluded with the Paris Club last year to turn 30% of the islands’ 1.37m-square-kilometre exclusive economic zone (EEZ) into marine protected areas.
The World Bank/GEF/blue bonds package will be used to fund sustainable activities in the remaining 70% of the EEZ that will be for sustainable development.
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