‘Alibonga Chini ya Maji’ Seychelles President goes underwater to deliver Speech

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In a striking speech delivered from deep below the ocean’s surface, the Seychelles president on Sunday made a global plea for stronger protection of the “beating blue heart of our planet.

Danny Faure said that a healthy ocean was “crucial for the survival of humanity” in a broadcast made 124m (406ft) below sea level.

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He spoke during a visit to an ambitious British-led science expedition exploring the Indian Ocean depths. Oceans cover over two-thirds of the world’s surface but remain, for the most part, uncharted. We have better maps of Mars than we do of the ocean floor, Faure said.

Last year, the Seychelles created protected areas of the ocean that were “the size of Great Britain”. During the live broadcast Mr Faure could be seen in the submersible wearing a Seychelles T-shirt.

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“This issue is bigger than all of us, and we cannot wait for the next generation to solve it. We are running out of excuses to not take action, and running out of time,” the president said from a manned submersible 400 feet (121 meters) below the waves, on the seabed off the outer islands of the African nation.

The broadcast was part of an expedition by Nekton Mission. The mission will explore deep sections of the waters surrounding Seychelles. The goal is to gain public support for the country to protect 30 percent of its national waters by 2020.

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It will then explore other areas of the Indian Ocean ahead of a summit in Oxford in 2022. In February 2018 the Seychelles protected 210,000 sq km (81,000 sq miles) of ocean in exchange for getting some of its national debt paid off.

The reserves limit tourism and fishing activities in the country to halt further damage to aquatic life. It was the first debt swap designed to protect ocean areas in the world.

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According to the UN, only 16 percent of marine waters under national jurisdiction are covered by protected areas. Seychelles aims to protect 30 percent of its ocean space by next year.

Oceans are one of the seven main themes of this year’s UN climate summit in Chile in December. Small island nations like the Seychelles are among the most vulnerable to the rise in sea levels caused by climate change.

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