Friday, May 21, 2010

Seychelles - President James Michel’s leadership in conservation highlighted at the UN

President James Michel’s leadership in conservation of island biodiversity at a global level as a contribution to the sustainable development of islands was highlighted at a major international meeting at the United Nations this week.

This was done in two presentations by Seychelles Ambassador to the UN Ronny Jumeau at the annual meeting of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) in New York from May 3 to 14.

One of the CSD’s plenary sessions on Tuesday May 11 was on the use of multi-stakeholder partnerships to implement sustainable development goals.  The CSD Chair, the Minister of the Environment and Natural Resources of Guatemala, invited Amb Jumeau on a panel of experts to make presentations to the delegates in the main conference hall.

Amb. Jumeau spoke as a member of the steering committee of the Global Islands Partnership (GLISPA) of which President Michel is co-chair along with the President of the Pacific island state of Palau.  This was Amb Jumeau’s second presentation on behalf of GLISPA following a smaller side-event to mark SIDS Day on Monday May 10 which was moderated by the Chair of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), Amb Dessima Williams of Grenada.

GLISPA brings together island nations and countries which have islands – large and small, developing and developed, rich and poor – and multilateral, bilateral, regional and national agencies and organisations to put together projects to conserve island biodiversity to support sustainable livelihoods and development.

Amb Jumeau explained to the CSD that GLISPA was formed following a call by President Michel and the then President of Palau, Tommy Remengesau, at the Mauritius International Meeting on Small Islands in January 2005 for an international partnership to build bridges between islands regardless of their size and political status.

This allows Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to come together under the GLISPA umbrella with large donor countries which have islands such as Australia, France, Germany,  Italy, New Zealand, Spain, the UK and the US; world renown environment organisations such as the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), and Conservation International (CI); key agencies such as the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA); and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to tackle island conservation and sustainability concerns of common interest.

It is with GLISPA’s support that President Michel established the Sea Level Rise Foundation (SLRF) in Seychelles as a global initiative to bring together resources and expertise to help small island states, large countries with islands and other low-lying areas to adapt to the growing threat of sea level rise.

Since it started in 2005 the Global Island Partnership has brought together more than 60 governments of small island developing states, large island countries and other countries with islands and multilateral, bilateral, regional and national agencies and organisations to do projects to conserve island biodiversity and sustainable livelihoods and development.

Major GLISPA initiatives include, in the Pacific, the Micronesia Challenge where five Micronesian small island states and island territories of the US aim, with the help of GLISPA partners, to conserve at least 30 percent of their near-shore marine resources and 20 percent of their terrestrial resources by 2020.

This in turn inspired the Caribbean Challenge in which eight SIDS governments have committed to support and manage new and existing national parks and protected areas throughout the region.  The overall goal is to protect at least 20 percent of their marine and coastal habitats by 2020.

In GLISPA’s newest initiative, Seychelles is playing the lead role in putting together the Western Indian Ocean Challenge in which the islands of the Western Indian Ocean and the islands and coastal areas of East Africa will focus on adaptation to climate change and the promotion of resilient ecosystems, sustainable livelihoods and human security.

SOURCE: Seychelles-Office of the President

Thursday, May 20, 2010

World's water steadily warming up

LONDON (Reuters) - The top layer of the world's ocean has warmed steadily since 1993, a strong sign of global warming and a key driver of sea level rise, according to a study by an international team of scientists.

"The ocean is the biggest reservoir for heat in the climate system, so as the planet warms, we're finding that 80 to 90 percent of the increased heat ends up in the ocean," said Josh Willis, an oceanographer at the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Scientists from NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Britain's Met Office, the University of Hamburg in Germany and the Meteorological Research Institute in Japan analyzed different estimates of heat content in the upper ocean from 1993 to 2008 to assess the size and certainty of growing heat storage in the ocean.

They estimated that the heat content of the ocean has increased over the last 16 years and the energy stored is now enough to light nearly 500 100-watt light bulbs for every person on the planet.

Warmer oceans cause sea levels to rise as seawater expands as it heats up, accounting for about one-third to one-half of global sea level rise, scientists say.

(Reporting by Daniel Fineren)