Sustainable development must be as much blue as it is green


Seychelles’ Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Ronny Jumeau, has reminded a United Nations debate on the pathway to sustainable development that the world’s oceans, coasts, and small island countries must be included in the concept of a green economy.

Speaking at the informal debate in the UN General Assembly on the challenges of the green economy held on June 2, Amb. Jumeau stressed that what the small island developing states (SIDS) described as a “blue economy” must be part and parcel of the concept, definition, and development of a climate- and environment-friendly green economy.

“This is something we in the small islands talk about a lot but do not hear about enough,” Ambassador Jumeau said, “We cannot build a new eco-friendly and sustainable world economy without factoring in and caring for the oceans, which would require integrating the SIDS.”

He later explained that the push by the SIDS for the “blue” economy to be incorporated within the concept of the global green economy is essentially to ensure that the oceans and marine resources, and consequently the small islands as large ocean territories, are not forgotten or left behind.

He noted that when people talk about islands in general, and the SIDS in particular, they invariably talk about vulnerable island economies based or heavily dependent on oceans, coastal activities, and marine resources, however, they often forget that the blue economy has in one way or another contributed to economic growth, food security, and the creation of jobs in practically every country on Earth.

Using Seychelles, the tuna fishing capital of the Indian Ocean as an example, Mr. Jumeau pointed out that the tuna fishing industry is one of the pillars of the islands’ economy. However, the main countries which catch this tuna and to which Seychelles exports its own tuna products are, in fact, some of the world’s major developed and emerging economies such as Germany, France, the UK, Spain, Japan, South Korea, and China, among others.

“We thus contribute to job creation in these economies and to feeding them,” Amb. Jumeau pointed out, “One could not talk of low-carbon economies and renewable energy without talking about ocean energy and the growth in offshore wind farms. Similarly, how could the discussion on the green economy talk of ecosystem services and responsible environmental stewardship, sustainable fisheries and food security, and responsible extractive industrial activities without looking at and including the oceans, coasts, marine resources, and the sea bed and ocean floor?

“The concept and development of the Green Economy must look at and cover the oceans and coasts if it is to include, serve, and benefit all of us in the international community and world economy.”