Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves and President James Michel of the Seychelles have joined with former U.S. President Bill Clinton to launch “Blue Guardians”. (Photo: Camillo Gonsalves/Facebook)

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves and President James Michel of the Seychelles on Monday joined with former U.S. President Bill Clinton of the Clinton Global Initiative to launch “Blue Guardians” in the United States.

Blue Guardians is a partnership facilitated by an international consortium of public and private organisations that aims to develop sustainable island economies while increasing resilience to climate change by supporting coastal communities, marine and fisheries conservation, and clean renewable energy.

“Small Island Developing States are one of the most vulnerable groupings of countries,” Gonsalves said at the launching.

“Our sustainable development and our very existence depend heavily on the conduct of others. We have been endangered by the profligate consumption of resources by other countries, and we have been disappointed by the broken promises of increased development assistance and debt relief.”

Gonsalves said Caribbean small island developing states have, by and large, been experiencing “anaemic post-financial-crisis growth”, adding that their GDPs have been “battered with regularity and ferocity by the impacts of climate change.

“So, today, we welcome this initiative. Blue Guardians will focus on new opportunities for developing the vast energy resources of our oceans in order to build climate resilient island economies. I believe it represents the last best hope to save the life of the seas and ourselves. All partners involved should be proud of this unprecedented action,” he said.

Blue Guardians is a partnership established by the governments of the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) through SIDS DOCK, a renewable energy initiative that connects the energy sector in SIDS with the global market for finance.

The partnership includes leading private sector technology and data providers, including DigitalGlobe; the Clinton Climate Initiative, an initiative of the Clinton Foundation; multi-lateral development organizations, including the World Bank; and conservation NGOs such as Conservation International, The Nature Conservancy, and GRID-Arendal.

“Satellite imagery and geospatial analytics can catalyse systemic change and have a transformational impact in the way developing island nations make informed decisions regarding their resources as an engine of inclusive growth,” said Taner Kodanaz, director of DigitalGlobe’s Seeing a Better World™ Program.

“Outcome-based partnerships like Blue Guardians can benefit SIDS by laying a data, policy, and management foundation that enables a global process for climate-smart planning, adaptation, and mitigation.”

SIDS contribute the least to climate change, yet are feeling the greatest impact of its consequences. Climate adaptation for many of these countries is a matter of survival.

While small in landmass, SIDS govern over vast territorial oceans and coastlines when their exclusive economic zones are included. These areas are threatened by climate change, leading to increased ocean acidification, decline in fisheries, and more frequent and severe storms. Historically, development of these huge ocean spaces and their abundant, and often unknown, marine resources have largely been limited to fisheries, tourism, and fossil fuel extraction.

“Oceans are the largest natural carbon sinks on earth,” said Dymphna van der Lans, CEO of the Clinton Climate Initiative. “Maintaining healthy oceans and resilient coasts is vital to reverse the effects of climate change.”

However, if properly managed, these ocean and coastal areas also present the greatest opportunity for island nations to capture sustainable benefits of their blue economies while increasing their resilience to climate change. A lack of adequate information has meant that island nations have not optimized the potential benefits of this great resource.

“Climate change is the single largest challenge facing global leaders today,” said James Michel, president of Seychelles. “And none of us can solve it alone. Our individual actions will count for little if they don’t contribute to a comprehensive global approach. When we look at our ocean, we are reminded of the threat that sea level rise poses for all of us. But we are also inspired, because we believe that our oceans also offer us the best route to respond together against climate change.”

With the formal establishment of SIDS DOCK as an intergovernmental organization of the United Nations, Blue Guardians will assist island nations with broadening their economic and sustainable development master plans to include ocean and coastal management, and will help SIDS implement the goals outlined by the Samoa Pathway. Blue Guardians will leverage big data solutions and harness informational tools to allow SIDS to set priorities in sustainably managing their fisheries, tourism and renewable energy sectors. The program is also raising a Blue Guardians multi-donor trust fund that will go to participating islands for technical assistance, data acquisition and natural resource management.

5 replies on “PM Gonsalves joins President Clinton to launch ‘Blue Guardians’”

  1. “…and we have been disappointed by the broken promises of increased development and debt relief” Comrade boy, we are feel the same way in this country by you. We have been endangered by your profligate consumption of this country’s resources with little or no benefit to the country. So we are hoping for a change.

  2. Sheer hypocricy on the part of Dr. Gonsalves whose government has a horrible record of environmental stewardship. As they say, charity begins at home: when will we start to do our part to protect our fragile ecosystem?

    Our rivers and in-shore sea waters are polluted; our beaches and streets are garbage dumps; our forests are indiscriminately cut down; our fields are poisoned with internationally-banned chemicals; our atmosphere is polluted by improperly maintained vehicles.

    Our bible-thumping Prime Minister should ponder the following scripture:
    “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel” (Timothy 5:8).

    Prime Minister where is your holisitic made-in-SVG environmental covenant with your people?

    Why do you fail to enforce existing environmental regulations?

    Why has pollution and environmental degradation increased so much on your watch?

    1. Patrick Ferrari says:

      C ben,

      I agree with you on vehicle pollution to the point where I keep (tractor unit) a professional anti-dust/paint mask that I use when I am behind a minivan going up “Cyrus” hill, especially. Slater had promised to do something about it. Yada, yada.

      BUT. All, all put together, the vehicle pollution in one year cannot amount to a single, abominable, Rabacca carcinogenic tyre burning.

      It will be frightening to study – and they would not dare do it – the cancers and respiratory diseases in Georgetown and Dickson, in time.

      Tyre burning at Rabacca is spite – by sloth.

      They cleaned up the mess at Canash – only after Camillo moved in. And they will stop the tyre burning – if only Gorse was nearer.

      (I am sorry Comrade, but it is how I feel and if I did not say it, I’d be lying – by omission.)

  3. What happened to the idea of “global warming”? No one uses this term anymore because it isn’t happening. Now we use the amorphous term “climate change” instead, a concept which is meaningless since some climate change of some sort is always taking place.

    The real issue is anthropogenic climate change — the extent to which human activity, as opposed to natural forces such as sun-spot activity, is altering the climate. This issue has certainly not been resolved and there are hundreds of reputable scientists who believe that the role of human activity has been grossly exaggerated.

    I can’t comment much on the science which is very complex indeed. What I can say as a social scientist is that it is clear that human beings have been trying to control or change the weather using everything from prayer to pseudo-science to do so since the beginning of time, all to no avail.

    I can also assert that neither Bill Clinton nor Ralph Gonsalves knows more about the causes and consequences of climate change than you or I do!

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