"Seychelles, small country, big nation" and "Blue is the new Gold" are the powerful messages that form part of Seychelles pavilion at Expo 2012 in the city of Yeosu in South Korea. The messages are contained in a banner designed by Nature Seychelles as part of the Expo, where the theme is "The Living Ocean and Coast." The banner explains our dependency as a nation on the sea and outlines the organisation’s contribution towards the country’s marine-based economy: the management of Cousin Island Special Reserve which is also a Marine Protected Area; sustainable tourism; fisheries co-management; climate change; ecosystems restoration and species conservation.
Yeosu Expo 2012 was launched on May 12th. The opening ceremony was attended by Seychelles President James Michel. The Seychelles currently holds the Presidency of the Indian Ocean Commission and so Expo 2012 provided an opportunity for the President to advocate the concerns of the Seychelles, and other similar countries, at an international level.
“As low lying Small Island Developing States, we are not only vulnerable to sea level rise but also aware of the importance of sustainable coastal tourism, responsible management of marine resources, and the protection of ecosystems and biodiversity. I am very proud of Seychelles’ presence at this international exposition as our islands are at the forefront of the fight against climate change, as well as advocates for the development of a sustainable blue economy,” President Michel told reporters at the opening of the Seychelles pavilion, the islands’ contribution to Expo 2012.
The Seychelles pavilion highlights the outstanding natural beauty of the Seychelles islands, and promotes tourism as well as the work of the Indian Ocean Commission and Nature Seychelles, in preserving the marine environment and mitigating the effects of climate change. It invites visitors to understand the fragility of the archipelago and the challenges it has to face to preserve its human and environmental balance.
Expo 2012 Yeosu's main focus is balancing the preservation of ocean and coastal areas with economic development. It urges for the sustainable and wise use of the oceans and search for a common solution to the challenges currently facing the world, particularly the depletion of marine resources and climate change.
“This made it the perfect setting to highlight Nature Seychelles’ contribution to sustainable development in the region, where the Seychelles is leading way in developing the blue economy”, said Nature Seychelles’ CEO Nirmal Shah, who worked with Seychelles Ambassador to China, Mr. Philippe Le Gall, to help develop the material for the Seychelles’ contribution to Yeosu Expo 2012.
The Expo will run from May 12 - August 12 and is expected to attract 10 million visitors. Seychelles’ participation in the Expo is also hoped to boost the country’s image in the fast growing Korean overseas tourism market, as well as increase Seychelles’ visibility in this part of the world, especially among business circles and scientific organizations.