83 people made an appearance to this youth and ocean focussed event organised by the SIDS Youth AIMS Hub- Seychelles on the 28th March 2015 at 1330. The enthusiasm and interest in the topic of the Blue Economy concept was obvious. This half day workshop was opened by the Minister of Finance, Trade and the Blue economy. He reached out to the youths asking that they seize the opportunities that are available and especially to take up careers that would assist with the development of the blue economy. Miss Shantana Barbe, the Secretary of SIDS Youth AIMS Hub- Seychelles gave a short address on the objectives behind this event. The first half of the workshop was aimed at providing education and empowerment for young people in the development of the Blue Economy. The second half was SYAH-SEYCHELLES insisting that youths are involved in the development of the Blue Economy by bringing high level officials to spend an afternoon listening to the concerns and proposals of young people regarding its development and where they seem themselves fitting in.
The presentations started with that of the Chief executive officer of agency of national human resources development, Mrs Margaret Pillay, on the various types of scholarships and honed in the human resources needs for aquaculture. She was followed by the Vice Chancellor of the University of Seychelles who explained the BSc Environmental Science programme and the recently opened Research Centre on the Blue Economy. Another means of opening opportunities for young people. His presentation was followed by that of Ms Abi March from Save our Seas Foundation on the holiday school programme in place for secondary school students where they can learn about marine life and the ocean. The presentation took a more serious light as we looked at the investment opportunities in the Blue economy. Mr Neil Lalande-Rene presented the many investment opportunities available and the role of the Seychelles Investment Board to enabling people to invest. A marine educator from WiseOceans, Miss Lindsay Sullivan gave a presentation on life as a marine conservationists. She explained to the participants the exciting work they carried out and the more challenging part of their career when they see marine environment affected by human intervention. The presentations ended with Miss Dora Lesperance from the Seychelles Fishing Authority on the various job opportunities in the sector. This drew the education part of the session to a close.
The second half of the event began with an invitation by a seven panellists to sit on the high table to answer the questions of the youths. Sat on the panel was Minister Adam, Minister for Finance, Trade and the Blue economy, Minister Cosgrow, Minister for Fisheries and Agriculture, Special Advisor Mr Phillipe Michaud, Chief executive officer of the National Institute of Science, Technology and Innovation, Mr Xavier Estico, Miss Dora Lesperance from SFA and Mr Andy Hamilton from Global Vision International.
Young people were eager to voice out their opinions and relay their questions and concerns. The discussions were moderated by Curator of the Global Shapers Victoria Hub, Miss Nandi Jones. The issue of human resources was a pressing one as young locals want to be leading in its development and alleviate the constant reliance on foreign experts. Locals have a lot to teach. There were also questions with regards to the barriers that young people have to face to set up a fishing business and how these need to be removed for the full participation of the local community. The issue of oil drilling exploration and its compatibility with the blue economy. Fisheries became a central topic especially with regards to the destructive fishing practices and value added to the fisheries industry. The role of NGOs was also explored in the development of the blue economy as NGO and private sector admittedly play an important role. This question and answers style debate from our panellists went on for over an one hour and a half. The vote of thanks was delivered by co-founder of SYAH-SEYCHELLES, Miss Angelique Pouponneau, who thanked the high level panel, the NGO-NGO collaboration and young people that made this a success. She also thanked the Ministry of Environment and the Environment Trust Fund for the sponsorship to make this event possible.
The SIDS Youth AIMS hub hopes that there will come a time that young people will be consulted when developing such important parts of the country in the same comfortable environment where young people can have a voice in national decision making.
SIDS YOUTH AIMS HUB – SEYCHELLES: youth-led NGO aimed at promoting and advancing youth-led sustainable development projects.