New African names Seychelles’ eco lawyer in 100 Most Influential Africans list

Seychelles’ environmental lawyer Angelique Pouponneau has been named as one of the 100 most influential Africans in 2021 by the New African magazine.
Pouponneau, who recently stepped down as chief executive of the Seychelles Conservation and Climate Adaptation Trust (SeyCCAT) to pursue her doctoral studies, began her environmental career when she co-founded the Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) Youth AIMS Hub Seychelles, an NGO dedicated to preserving the environment and promoting sustainable development.
“I feel very proud and appreciate the recognition of my hard work and efforts,” Pouponneau told SNA, adding that she only found out about this achievement through Twitter after the magazine had already published the list.
She said that her ultimate life goal is to one day become the secretary-general of an organisation like the Commonwealth or a UN ocean envoy.
“I like working with different countries and a multi-cultural environment and advocating for the things I am passionate about like climate change, small island developing states, ocean health, and social justice,” said Pouponneau.
The 31-year-old has worked in different countries in the Caribbean, Pacific and the Indian Ocean on a wide range of projects. These include sustainable fisheries, sustainable management of marine biodiversity within and beyond national jurisdiction, climate change and in particular climate adaptation and climate finance.
“The fact that the recognition relates to my work in climate change and as a climate negotiator is heartening. Climate negotiations are tough – they are mentally and physically exhausting, working 20-hour days during the intersessions and COPs [Conference of the Parties] and at the end of the day getting the best you can for your country and people based on international politics. I have to say it is always rewarding fighting for small island developing states, so I always go back!” she said.
In January, Pouponneau was appointed as one of 15 experts selected to sit on the Decade Advisory Board to assist UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) in coordinating the UN’s Ocean Decade 2021-2030.
She holds a master’s degree in environmental law, specialising in the law of the sea and natural resources law, and is also a trained climate change negotiator under the AOSIS Climate Change Fellowship Programme at the United Nations.
The New African magazine publishes an annual listing of the 100 Most Influential Africans to celebrate Africanness.
The list features influential people from various backgrounds, including change makers, leaders, creatives, entrepreneurs, opinion shapers and sportspeople.
Some other top names on the list are Rwandan President Paul Kagame, African Fashion Foundation founder Roberta Annan, TikTok icon Khabane Lame, academy award-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o and African footballer of 2021, Mohamed Salah.

Source: Seychelles News Agency