The Ocean Race Summit Seychelles, 21 March 2021 © Freelens Productions

The Ocean Race Summit Seychelles Calls on World to Unite to Protect the Ocean

The event, held earlier today, featured Wavel Ramkalawan, President of the Republic of the Seychelles, Patricia Scotland, Commonwealth Secretary General. Mia Amor Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados and Ambassador Peter Thomson, United Nations Special Envoy for the Ocean

World leaders, ministers, sailors, scientists and ocean advocates gathered in the Seychelles today to call for greater global action and collaboration to protect the ocean.

Mr. Wavel Ramkalawan, President of the Republic of the Seychelles, spoke about his concern for the ocean, its vital role in sustaining all life on Earth and the need to unite in taking urgent action to protect it: “The survival of this planet depends on each one of us pulling together exactly as the participants in The Ocean Race do. It is teamwork that will ensure the survival of our planet.”

The President praised female leaders in conservation and youth, who are striving to protect the seas. He also spoke about how the country is leading the way in taking action: “The Seychelles is punching above its weight. Small as we are, we are protecting 30% of our ocean. We are committed to protecting the ocean, but we cannot do it alone. We ask the world to join us in saving our ocean and saving our planet.”

The Ocean Race Summit Seychelles was held in the country to reflect the vital role that island nations – also known as Big Ocean States – at the forefront of the climate crisis can play in driving awareness and action. A key theme that emerged from the Summit was a greater need for collaboration, with island nations, and others, reinforcing that they alone cannot protect the ocean.

The Honourable Mia Amor Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados, who spoke about developing blue economy legislation to revolutionise the way Barbados engages with the ocean, said: “Our relationship with the marine environment can no longer be extractive or parasitic. We must work hard, just as hard for our oceans, as they work for us. Our small island developing nations cannot do it alone. It is go time, and this is the decade of action, collective action, immediate action, individual action and ultimately global action, we must reverse the tide and yes we must do it now.”

The Right Honourable Patricia Scotland, Commonwealth Secretary General spoke about how commonwealth countries are leading the way in ocean protection and also highlighted the need for the world to unite. She said: “The ocean sustains life on earth but remains the most undervalued, under researched and recklessly exploited natural wonder of the planet. The ocean is both a vital tool in our fight against climate change and disproportionately affected by climate change. Only collective action will protect our ocean.”

Danny Faure, Former President of Seychelles and Founder Danny Faure Foundation said: “We all recognise and value the interconnectedness of the ocean and socio-economic, indeed human, development. It is imperative that we attain equilibrium between effective ocean conservation and the sustainable development of our marine resources. More needs to be done to accelerate efforts to protect the health of the ocean and we are running out of time. Small island states like Seychelles risk losing everything if global action is not amplified – our livelihoods, our homes, and our hope for a safer, more just and sustainable future for our children and theirs.”

The Summit was organised by The Ocean Race, the world’s toughest test of a team in sport and an industry leader in sustainability, and 11th Hour Racing, an international organisation that mobilises sailing, maritime and coastal communities with an innovative approach to inspire solutions for the ocean. Held in collaboration with the Danny Faure Foundation and hosted by the Republic of the Seychelles, The Summit sought to address the lack of governance and protection for our seas, the impact of climate change on the ocean and examine whether the ocean should be given rights.

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