The emerging concept of the Blue Economy has been embraced by the Government of Seychelles as a mechanism to realize sustainable economic development based around an ocean-based economy.
Seychelles’ intention is to implement the Blue Economy concept at the national level as a framework to foster an integrated approach for sustainable development programmes.
The critical gap however, is the mechanism for its implementation at the national level. Limited, if any, practical information is currently available to countries, notably small states, wishing to implement these concepts.
This is predominately so, as information that does exist focuses primarily on land-based economic development or has a strong focus on conservation rather than on the sustainable use of the investment in an ocean-based economy for national benefit.
Seychelles Blue Economy Strategic Framework and Roadmap was approved by the Government of Seychelles on 31st January 2018 and is an integrated approach to ocean-based sustainable development which brings together economy, environment and society, consistent with the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030 (SDG’s), Aichi Target 11 of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change (2015).
It articulates Seychelles “Blue Economy Brand” as a unique comparative advantage based on its sustainability credentials, builds on Seychelles national and international legal and policy frameworks, successful flagship initiatives such as marine spatial planning and innovative financing through blue bonds and advances a prioritized agenda for action & investment to 2030.
This Roadmap will necessarily require the definition of short, medium and long-term actions across a broad range of sectors as well as require fundamental changes to the traditional institutional arrangements that exist to support marine sector resource management in Seychelles.
As Seychelles Vice President Vincent Meriton noted in 2017, with the adoption of a results based management framework by the Government in 2013, ‘strategic planning which gives us a sense of direction and focus for action, must be at the core of all that we do. So does monitoring and evaluation of performance because we need to measure progress and decide whether we are on course towards set objectives.’
A coordinated, whole of Government approach is a necessary condition for successful implementation of the Blue Economy. Government has established a dedicated Blue Economy Department within the portfolio of the Vice President to oversee completion and implementation of the Strategic Policy Framework and Roadmap domestically and internationally.
Seychelles has achieved outstanding leadership on islands, climate, oceans and Blue Economy internationally through its commitment and engagement in International Ocean and climate fora and active participation in global and regional partnerships.
However, while Seychelles has existing capacity for some key sectors of the Blue Economy (e.g. fisheries) it lacks the overarching policy and strategic expertise required to make this transition effectively.
Progress is being made through the development of a National Development Strategy 2018-2022 as a mechanism for coordinating national efforts and indicatives for sustainable development. The Blue Economy Strategic Framework and Roadmap aligns with this mechanism.
The Commonwealth Secretariat is supporting this effective transition through the provision of a long-term in-country technical expert to assist the Government, and implementation of the Strategic Framework and Roadmap. The extent to which a framework can be developed for use by other States is also a relevant consideration.
The project assists the Government of Seychelles in developing and implementing a National Blue Economy Strategic Framework and Roadmap to establish broad directions for future investment and development of a sustainable ocean-based economy in Seychelles. A review, validation and implementation of the Roadmap is aimed at supporting Seychelles in its transition to a more integrated ocean-based economy.
The Government’s ultimate goals in developing the national Blue Economy Roadmap include:
- Economic diversification & resilience to reduce economic vulnerability and reliance on a small number of sectors and to increase the % GDP derived from marine sectors.
- Shared prosperity through creation of high value jobs and local investment opportunities;
- Food security and well-being;
- Integrity of habitats and ecosystem services, sustainable use, and climate resilience.
The successful and sustainable implementation of the Blue Economy Strategic Framework and Roadmap will ultimately deliver the following outcomes:
- Effective protection of Seychelles’ ocean space and resources through better coordination across different sectors, application of protective measures and greater use of surveillance and enforcement tools;
- Increased investment in diversification of existing ocean-based economic sectors (particularly fisheries, tourism and ports) to realize greater value and efficiency from the existing resource base;
- Reduced vulnerability to economic and environmental shocks and dependency on energy and food imports;
- New research, innovation and generation of knowledge about Seychelles’ ocean space, resources and management needs;
- Exploration and feasibility of new and emerging maritime sectors (for example marine-based aquaculture, renewable energy, offshore petroleum and marine biotechnology);
- Improved prevention of ocean/blue economy risks including illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, marine pollution and climate change through integrated approaches to effective regional cooperation on maritime security;
- Capacity for effective ocean management and for taking advantage of the opportunities the Blue Economy offers today and in the future;
The main beneficiaries of the project will be the Blue Economy Department and a range of government agencies/ministries with responsibility for the management of marine resources including tourism, marine resources, economic development and investment, environment management, maritime transport, security and offshore petroleum development.
A broad range of relevant stakeholders and citizens will ultimately benefit, including existing sectors, user groups and local communities.
This project’s intended outputs include:
- Comprehensive and strategic advice provided to the Office of the Vice President, Blue Economy Department, and relevant stakeholders responsible for the Blue Economy.
- Review additional improvement/amendments of content leading to the validation of the Roadmap.
- Strategies, focus areas and projects for implementation of the Blue Economy Roadmap identified, approved and implemented.
- Resources (financial, human capacity and technical) for implementation projects of the Blue Economy Strategic Framework and Roadmap, identified and secured.
- Strategic partnerships between Seychelles and relevant partners including, but not limited to: development agencies, private sector organizations, and marine research institutes, established and maintained.
- Consistent implementation of the Roadmap across government and its respective agencies, in particular, working closely with the Blue Economy Department, Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA), Seychelles Conservation and Climate Adaptation Trust (SEYCCAT), Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change (MEECC), Ministry of Finance, Trade and Economic Planning (MFTEP), National Institution for Science, Technology and Innovation(NISTI), Ministry of Employment, Entrepreneurship Development and Business Innovation and the University of Seychelles, ensured and documented.
- Blue Economy Strategic Framework and Roadmap and policy elements, as implemented by Seychelles, promoted domestically, regionally and internationally.
The Commonwealth Secretariat is assisting the Government of Seychelles to validate and implement its Blue Economy Strategic Roadmap in support of Seychelles’ transition to a more integrated ocean-based economy.