Rising seas: Seychelles' President calls on world governments to help SIDS
Ramkalawan delivered his address during the plenary session of the summit on Tuesday. (YouTube)
(Seychelles News Agency) - International cooperation is crucial to help small island nations like Seychelles address the impact of climate change, President Wavel Ramkalawan said in his keynote address at the World Government Summit in Dubai.
Ramkalawan delivered his address on "The Era of Climate Change: The Urgency of Addressing Rising Seas" during the plenary session of the summit on Tuesday.
He said that although climate change affects the development of all nations regardless of location, size of the economy or demographics, no other group of nations is more vulnerable to its devastating effects than small islands developing states (SIDS).
"Climate change is the current reality and a nightmare for SIDS like Seychelles with the majority of our people living on land that is less than five metres above sea level or along coasts; the threat of sea rise, storm surges and coastal destruction pose existential risks to us," said Ramkalawan.
Seychelles' President highlighted the fact that SIDS live through constant assaults from climate change that undermines their livelihood, security and mere existence.
Ramkalawan told the plenary session that over 40 percent of Seychellois live in low-lying areas which will also be directly impacted by the rising sea level.
"While the ocean threatens to sink our coralline islands and make our populated granitic ones uninhabitable my people also depend on it for their livelihood and nourishment, with our culture and identity intrinsically tied to its vibrancy and health. With most economic activities lying along a narrow coastal zone, sea level rise due to the impact of climate change is of great concern to the Seychelles," he pointed out.
Ramkalawan said that SIDS have been at the forefront of global discussions on strong climate mitigation efforts minimising the risks of climate change and on mechanisms to address loss and damage.
"But we cannot do it alone. Dealing with the impacts of climate change is complex and multifaceted and can only be approached holistically hence why international cooperation is crucial if we want to help small island nations address the impact of climate change. We need not only financial aid but technological and capacity building support to mitigate and adapt," he said.
"Seychelles is considered a high-income country but we do share similar issues with the vulnerable groups when it comes to climate change adaptation, when it comes to disaster risk reduction, recovery and rehabilitation considerations and environmental sustainability," he added.
Ramkalawan said that this is why Seychelles fully supports the adoption and implementation of a multi-dimensional vulnerability index (MVI).
"Seychelles like other SIDS is building a vision for a climate resilient future that puts adaptation and loss and damage at the centre of its decision making while taking immediate actions now to protect the people, the economy and the environment," said the President.