The announcement of President Macky Sall as the winner of the sixth "Excellence in National Stewardship" inspires faith, hope and confidence in me. It gives me hope that there are decision makers who cannot be diverted from the interests of their communities, especially when livelihoods are threatened by large fishing companies and foreign countries.
Indeed, he needed courage, determination and love for his people, especially the most vulnerable, to reject the billions proposed by some members of his entourage for whom foreign pelagic trawlers constitute a financial windfall, in these times of economic downturn. He also needed courage to cancel 29 fishing authorizations in April 2012 that the former regime had illegally granted to foreign pelagic trawlers.
This announcement also gave me back the confidence that I had lost in the leaders of the current generation, who forget their political promises once they are promoted. Macky continues to honour the statements that he made during a meeting with the Greenpeace campaign team during the last Senegalese elections.
Today, Senegal and the entire West African region can count on, a leader in the protection of the oceans and their biodiversity, but also protection of the people who depend on them.
But the path is still long and strewn with obstacles. Extending biological rest to two months, and a strong stance on environmental issues during the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio +20), are other signs of commitment that President Macky Sall showed to the international community. This award is recognition for these efforts.
There is no doubt that a new guardian of the oceans is born!