Seychelles President James Michel has commended the Yeosu Expo 2012 as an outstanding exhibition of marine biodiversity, as well as an opportunity for all nations to gather ideas and technology to preserve and protect the marine environment.
“As low-lying small island developing states, we are not only vulnerable to sea level rise but also aware of the importance of sustainable coastal tourism, responsible management of marine resources, and the protection of ecosystems and biodiversity. I am very proud of Seychelles’ presence at this international exposition, as our islands are at the forefront of the fight against climate change, as well as advocates for the development of a sustainable blue economy,” said President Michel.
The President attended the opening of the Seychelles pavilion at the Expo, which is found in the Joint Pavilion of the Indian Ocean, where Seychelles and the Maldives are the only island states represented, together with other African, Middle Eastern, and Asian coastal nations. Seychelles Ambassador to China, Philippe Le Gall, and staff of the Seychelles Embassy and Seychelles Tourism Board office in Beijing, showed the President and the Minister for Environment and Energy, Dr. Rolph Payet, around the pavilion. Also present was Seychelles Honorary Consul General in Korea, Mr. Dong Chang Jeong, who was thanked by the President for having helped Seychelles to be represented at Yeosu Expo in such a dynamic and convincing way.
The Seychelles pavilion highlights the outstanding natural beauty of the Seychelles islands, and promotes tourism, as well as the work of the Indian Ocean Commission and the environmental NGO, Nature Seychelles, in preserving the marine environment and mitigating the effects of climate change.
President Michel also toured the Korean pavilion and the Sky Tower, where he was able to see the latest technology being developed for eco-friendly economic development and marine conservation.
“We have viewed new wind energy projects in action, as well as the solar power plants used to power this expo, and discussed the ways in which various technologies can be used by small islands states to become energy self-sufficient in renewable energy. Korea is developing and showcasing the latest technologies at Yeosu, which will have a lasting impact on future generations,” said Mr. Michel.
President Michel also welcomed the Korean initiative for the Yeosu Declaration of 2012, which is expected to be adopted at the end of the expo.
“We have been calling on the international community to do more to safeguard the future of small island states that are dependent on the marine environment. This declaration will help to gather momentum for greater support for islands states in the face of natural disasters such as the flooding and tidal surges caused by sea-level rise, the coral-bleaching from the rise in ocean water temperature, as well as the related effects on fisheries and tourism.”
According to the Korean press, “The Yeosu Declaration aims to promote greater stewardship of the marine environment, sharing knowledge and understanding of how oceans and coastal resources can be enjoyed in a sustainable manner for present and future generations. One of its key messages to the global community is the importance of marine resources to a new green economy. Resources on land are becoming scarce and long-term provision of extra food is an issue of concern. … The Yeosu Declaration calls for urgent international cooperation in scientific and technological research and to expand global ocean observation to find ways of reducing natural disasters. Special attention is given to the needs of developing nations, including small islands to help address the ocean related challenges they face.”
The declaration is being developed by the Drafting and Review Committee, comprised of 53 chartered marine experts from Korea and abroad including officials from specialized international organizations such as the FAO, GEF, IMO, IOC/UNESCO, OECD, UNDP, and UNEP.
The declaration outlines humanity’s relationship with the marine world: 1) The ocean is a planetary treasury but remains mysterious, 2) The oceans are under pressure due to human needs, and 3) The oceans must be kept healthy for future generations.
A special day focusing on Seychelles, and Seychelles’ experience, and expertise in the fields covered by the expo theme “the Living Ocean and Coast,” will be organized in Yeosu on June 29 and attended by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Jean-Paul Adam, and the top management of the Expo Organizing Committee.