The United Nations has welcomed Seychelles’ push for fair deals for Small Island Developing States (Sids), according to a statement made by the organisation’s General Assembly president Vuk Jeremić. In the statement he said Seychelles is emerging as a strong proponent of reaching a “fair deal for SIDS” – of ensuring that what was agreed in principle by the world’s leaders for example at last June in Rio de Janeiro is followed through in practice.
“The landmark Future We Want outcome document reaffirmed the “special challenges facing the most vulnerable countries,” and called for a renewed political commitment by the international community to make Sids priorities in an integral part of global action,” he said.
He thanked Foreign Minister Jean-Paul Adam for his role in organising the recent Samoa preparatory meeting here, describing our islands as full of astonishing beauty.
“This archipelago has been rightly hailed by the renowned Seychellois writer Antoine Abel as ‘a world apart’ – a distant maritime frontier a thousand kilometres from the nearest shore, with much of its pristine wilderness ‘untouched by the hand of man’,” he said.
“Thanks to President James Michel’s leadership, these words have framed the government policy, making this country a leading advocate of environmental conservation, with more than fifty percent of its land territory now protected by law – the highest proportion in the world.
He renewed the warning that for Sids, even marginal sea level rises could result in irreversible losses in livelihood and biodiversity, in addition to game-changing damage to property and infrastructure, as well as their fishing and tourism industries.
“Some of them could literally be swallowed whole by the oceans in the decades to come. There is a danger of recasting the ancient myth of Atlantis into modern-day tragedy emblematic of mankind’s folly and hubris, a failure to take steps to prevent nature from unleashing its wrath on those most undeserving of its punishment.
“Over seventy percent of our planet is aquatic, encompassing ninety-five percent of our world’s biosphere. Nine tenths of global trade passes through those waters, and great wealth lies beneath them. The sea helps to preserve the way of life of countless individuals – a disproportionate many in the Small Island Developing States. That is why I strongly support countries preparing for the Samoa meeting to insist that the Green Economy we hope to create must contain provisions to enhance the Blue Economy.
“We must foster a stronger sense of responsibility towards the oceanic space. One way forward is to ensure a stand-alone SDG on this issue. Another is to work on the creation of an international governance structure for the ninety-eight percent of the world’s marine area that is entirely unregulated,” he said.