The first visit of the day was at the Indian Ocean Commission based in the new modern city centre of Ebene. Amongst the initial focus of the Indian Ocean Commission was Trade and Economy, Environment and Natural Resources (nowadays it also covers corporation between regional meteorological service and climate change) and also social development.
It’s no secret that we are in a new generation, and it should not be a secret that we will be the future generations. After my two weeks internship at Petro Seychelles, I was given the honour of being part of the greatest group of young adults (I’m going to talk about the experience with these young adults in another blog but in this one I have another motive). So, I had been chosen to be part of the Blue economy program organised by SYAH and funded by the British high commission to go to Mauritius. Don’t worry if you still haven’t figured out the point of this blog. I haven’t reached a point yet.
Since my arrival in Mauritius I had gone to sleep late at night with laughter resonating from the Lawen twin’s room to mine and often I found myself waking up to the same happy sound. Today was no different (Not realising that I had gotten so used to the giggling I would miss it when I got back to Seychelles). Five minutes later noise erupted even louder as the whole house was wide awake eager for another day out at sea as part of our Blue Economy visit in Mauritius. Today we were once again going to be joined by our dear Mauritian friends on our trip. We were all looking forward.After getting ready, having breakfast, packing our water and other essentials especially sunscreen we got on the bus and away we went!
We may not realise it but we depend on the sea more then we actually know. Oceans remove carbon from the air, regulate the Earth's climate, transferring heat, provide food, provide jobs and provide oxygen. In other words, the ocean is responsible for the regulation of the Earth’s system, supply living and non-living resources as well as providing social and economic good and services.
It’s Nathanielle again, here with some key information on how to conserve the ocean, day 8 we visited the Reef Conversation of Mauritius .we are always talking about conservation of the sea and marine life however we never really realised that if 50 % of the population is trying to restore the ocean and 50% is destroying it due to lack of knowledge or carelessness, nothing is actually being done.
The Ocean is the heart of our planet. It connects people across the earth, no matter where we live. Each day of the Mauritius trip thought us something new about the ocean. It broadened our perspective on the Blue economy itself and definitely taught us to appreciate what we have here in Seychelles a little more.
Located at the northern tip of Mauritius, Cap Malheureux Beach (Cape Misfortune) named for the numerous ships that foundered in that area is a place of great historical value for the island. The picturesque sandy beach has a stunning view of the islands off the coasts and not to mention the charcoal black volcanic rocks extending all the way from the base of the beach to the sea. These rocks were definitely the main attraction of the beach.
My fifth day in Mauritius started really early. Breakfast time was set at 7:30am and we all had to be ready by 8:15am to board our little van in order for us to head to the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) in Ebene/Cybercity. We arrived there at around 9 and we were greeted by the second person in command as the Secretary General of the IOC was on a mission abroad. We were already a bit familiar with the place as we had visited SYAH-Mauritius there on our third day. We were then directed to the conference room whereby a two hours presentation awaited us.
The days flew by and before we knew it, it was Friday. Our last day in Mauritius. There was still one last thing we had not yet done and that was visit the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA). The schedule on Friday was tight but luckily we managed to fit it in. When we arrived at the IORA in Cybercity, Ebène, we were introduced to the members of the organisation in Mauritius and welcomed into a conference room already set up for a PowerPoint presentation by Mr. Firdaus Dahlan, Director at IORA Mauritius.
Basically the Indian Ocean Rim Association is one that promotes regional economic cooperation between states under the Indian Ocean Rim. An alliance set up to promote sustainable growth and balanced development of the region and member states. It consists of 21 countries, Seychelles included. Separated into different sectors, the IORA manages areas such as Maritime Safety and Security, Trade and Investment Facilitation, Fisheries Management, Danger Risk Management, Academic and Science & Technology Cooperation, Tourism Promotion and Cultural Exchanges, and Blue Economy + Women Empowerment. However, IORA believes in cooperation, mutual understanding, and constructive engagement being the key to overcoming maritime challenges. The IORA plans on getting their first summit this year.
In 2014 the Blue Economy theme was recognised as a high priority area. The sectors within this area include fisheries and aquaculture, renewable ocean energy, seaports and shipping, offshore hydrocarbons and seabed minerals, marine biotechnology, research and development, and tourism. In most member states the Blue Economy contributes significantly to the countries’ GDP therefore its preservation is considered very important. The Mauritius Declaration of the Blue Economy was adopted at the first IORA in 2015. Capacity building is made possible with the help of workshops, conferences and meetings on the different sectors of the Blue Economy. The programmes help to develop projects that can be used to tackle the problems our ocean faces. For now IORA is looking to strengthen maritime safety and security, enhance capacity building, promote private and public partnership, and strengthen cooperation on R&D and technology transfer, and strengthening engagement of dialogue partners in IORA projects. The IORA’s funding for its projects is received in the form of voluntary contribution from member states otherwise through special funds.
By the end of the talk we all had more knowledge of the IORA, what its functions are and how Seychelles benefits from being a member. We went back to the hotel for our bags and a quick lunch then drove to the airport with great memories and lots of things to tell the people back home.
Written by Nikita Rennie.