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Seychelles Nation: Blue economy advocates meet Vice-President Meriton

The five young members of the newly created youth advocacy group for the department of blue economy yesterday met with Vice-President Vincent Meriton, who heads the department.

In their first encounter with the vice-president as a group, the young blue economy champions were presented with their acceptance letters.

Aged from 20 to 24, Pearl Bastienne, Gabrielle Gonthier, Jean-François Lepathy, Mario Desaubin and Laurent Valentin expressed their gratitude at being selected for this unique opportunity.

The creation of the group is in response to the commitment made to the African Union (AU) and in line with the Blue Economy Strategic Policy Framework and Roadmap.

The youth advocacy group has for aim to incite conversations on the blue economy among the younger generations in Seychelles, and garner interests and involvement in the development of the blue economy.

The five-member team is also expected to provide logistical and technical assistance to facilitate the implementation of the Blue Economy Policy Framework and Roadmap, and promote the principles of the blue economy in different media formats.

Their duties will also extend to regional and international platforms.

Additionally, the group will be trained in ocean governance through mentorship from staff of the department of the blue economy.

The group is on a voluntary basis.

VP Meriton yesterday highlighted that the department had found it necessary to engage youths in the development of government policies and strategies in regards to the blue economy, not only through non-government organisations (NGOs), but also directly within the administration.

“There are many youth organisations that are working with the government in advancing and promoting the blue economy and you will be taking this to a higher level because you will form part of the governance system of the blue economy,” VP Meriton told the five youths.

He further noted that their decision to join and volunteer their time as activists for the department, demonstrates the willingness of the youth to help shape tomorrow.

“The government commits itself to continuing the work that it has started and providing the platform to ensure that ideas that come up are implemented,” he added.

Thessia Kilindo, who has been tasked with coordinating the group, noted that the group has been put together for the duration of two to three years.

The policy analyst at the department of the blue economy noted that this would be sufficient time to mentor and build the capabilities of the five youths to later take up leadership in the blue economy.

“In turn they will have to raise awareness among others in the communities, train them and teach them about food security, sustainable use of the ocean and so on,” Ms Kilindo said.

“With COVID-19, we now have a better understanding of the importance of the fisheries industry and our ocean, and this will help us to explore the various possibilities and develop new businesses in this sector.”

Gonthier noted that she joined the group with the view of educating and empowering the community.

“As a youth, I understand the impact of my voice and what I can contribute to the society. The blue economy is the way forward; we have a vast ocean and we need to invest in it. I want to be part of that change.”

On his part, Valentin is hoping to bring about innovative changes and is passionate about the involvement of more Seychellois scientists and researchers in regards to the blue economy.

“Our greatest contribution as youths is our perspective and our ideas. We have to ensure that polices that are implemented are sustainable,” Valentin said.

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