EU wants to join with Seychelles on climate change issue at upcoming COP26 global meeting
The eighth EU-Seychelles Political Dialogue is an annual event to discuss progress, issues and challenges. (Seychelles Nation)
(Seychelles News Agency) - EU leaders on Thursday told Seychellois politicians that they want to join the island nation on the issue of the environment and climate change at the upcoming U.N. environmental conference known as COP26.
The leaders spoke during the eighth EU-Seychelles Political Dialogue, an annual event to discuss progress, issues and challenges.
This year's meeting was co-chaired by the Seychelles' foreign affairs and tourism minister, Sylvestre Radegonde, and the EU ambassador to Seychelles, Vincent Degert. Nine Seychelles ministers and ambassadors of EU member states to Seychelles also attended.
Degert told reporters that the dialogue provided a great opportunity for the EU to ask that Seychelles speak with the same voice on climate change at the upcoming COP26 which will talk place in Glasgow, Scotland in November.
"The European Union is very worried about the turn that climate change is taking and we want to be able to share this view with the largest possible group of countries. With Seychelles being an island directly affected in an existential term is, it is one of the strongest voices we wanted to join with within this world context. It is only if we are able to make a big group of countries with a strong voice that we can expect changes and commitments. Commitments are not enough - action is what we need," said Degert.
He congratulated Seychelles for being among the first countries to submit its National Determined Contribution (NDC) which contains objectives in tackling the threats of climate change.
As one of the biggest agreements between Seychelles and the EU worth €58million over the course of five years, the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement, in addition to fisheries and the Blue Economy was also tabled.
"We are very satisfied with the collaboration we have and we see it as a win-win operation between Seychelles and the EU. Most of the products are first captured by the European fleets, transformed in Seychelles and exported to the EU," said Degert.
He added that the Blue Economy has a huge potential for Seychelles, "however, the country needs to define what it wants to do, preserving the ecosystem as you do exploitation of the option and possibilities that are there. Aquaculture is one of the fields that we have been working with Seychelles on for a number of years now and to see how we can turn this potential into business and into reality."
The two parties also talked about economic recovery after the COVID situation, where Degert announced the continuation of the bilateral assistance programme.
"Normally we do not have assistance for high income countries but taking into account the pandemic and the vulnerability of Seychelles, we have managed to maintain this assistance programme which allows us to continue to work deeply with the administration here on various fields," he said,
Degert said that Seychelles and the EU need to continue working together to address fiscal issues, now that the island nation has been moved from the black list on fiscal issues to the monitoring list. Anti-money laundering and corruption are two areas that need addressing.
Maritime security was also discussed and Degert said that "there are new threats coming in, as there are new instabilities in the region and therefore we need to have a stronger response to all of that. This will come from the maritime security and port security programmes that we have."
He announced that the EU has agreed to extend the mandate of the EUNAVFOR, its military force, for two years. The force's mandate will extend to cover other fields such as arms and drug trafficking because these are new threats that are very present in the Indian Ocean and increasing.
The two parties noted that the African Union-European Union Summit in 2022 will be an important event to reinforce the partnership with Africa. A BlueInvest-Africa, a Business-to-Business event, will held in March 2022 in Seychelles, a key event for boosting the African Union-EU partnership in the area of the blue economy.
On his side, Minister Radegonde said, "It was a very fruitful meeting and we look forward to the future with a lot of optimism. We need to build broaden and strengthen that relationship between the EU and Seychelles."
On Thursday afternoon, the EU delegation made a courtesy call on the President of Seychelles, Wavel Ramkalawan.