Seychelles' President tells virtual UN: collective effort needed to overcome pain of COVID
Faure talked about how Seychelles stepped up to the challenge despite being faced with an economy crippled by the collapse of tourism. (State House)
(Seychelles News Agency) - The painful lessons learned from the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic underscores the urgent need for continued collective approaches, Seychelles' President Danny Faure told heads of state and government in a virtual session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on Wednesday.
According to State House, Faure said that "rarely have the United Nations and multilateralism been tested as they are being tested during this year of the U.N.'s 75th anniversary, the year where the world is grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic."
The 75th session of the UNGA opened September 15, with the high level debates taking place this week under the theme, "The future we want, the United Nations we need: reaffirming our collective commitment to multilateralism – confronting COVID-19 through effective multilateral action."
"To be effective, our joint efforts need to be coordinated and delivered through a revitalised and more inclusive multilateral system, comprising of the voices of all stakeholders, including the youth, civil society and the private sector to ensure a global all-of-society approach," he said.
The Seychelles' head of state talked about how the island nation in the western Indian Ocean stepped up to the challenge despite being faced with an economy crippled by the collapse of tourism, the top economic contributor.
"We introduced a series of unprecedented measures to save the lives of our people and mitigate the economic destruction, minimising unemployment and securing workers' incomes," said Faure.
He said that everything Seychelles has done to minimise the impact of COVID-19 will not be sustainable in the longterm because of the depletion in the country's foreign exchange reserves.
"We estimate it will take at least five years for Seychelles to return to where we were before COVID-19, assuming the world gets a vaccine that ensures the novel coronavirus is no longer a global public health threat," said the president.
He added that "the ultimate test of multilateralism lies in the way we assist vulnerable economies today, for it ultimately decides whether we attain the future we want."
Faure said that the massive global economic restructuring now underway presents the world with a unique opportunity to pursue a holistic and transformational approach to address the numerous escalating global crises.
"We cannot have a healthy recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic if we do not heal our poor relationship with our natural environment. As the saying goes human health depends on nature's health... We understand this well in Seychelles where the two main pillars of our economy, tourism and fishing, depend on the state of our natural environment, and especially our ocean," said Faure.
Seychelles has taken measures to protect nearly one third of its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) which covers 1.4 million square kilometres, for ocean conservation and all actions taken shows that responses to the health and financial crisis caused by COVID-19 do not need to be at the expense of nature and climate.