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Inequality of access to resources and opportunities hinders development, says Seychelles' President

Victoria, Seychelles | March 5, 2023, Sunday @ 17:59 in National » GENERAL | By: Betymie Bonnelame | Views: 3819
Inequality of access to resources and opportunities hinders development, says Seychelles' President

Ramkalawan was speaking at the 5th United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries in Doha, Qatar. (State House)

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(Seychelles News Agency) - The potential for least developed countries (LDCs) and small island states (SIDS) to have rapid growth and development could be realised if they had equal access to resources and opportunities, Seychelles' President Wavel Ramkalawan said in a plenary session on Sunday.

Ramkalawan was speaking at the 5th United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC5) in Doha, Qatar.

"Seychelles has graduated to the high-income status, however, our presence here is a sign of solidarity, regional and global support for our fellow SIDS and Africans and a strong expression of seeking greater standing and cooperation. No state should be punished for progress. Let not the so-called graduation be another hurdle in meeting the needs of our people and its communities," he said.

The head of state of Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, said that the world has changed drastically since the 4th United Nations Conference on the least developed countries.

"Since then, only three countries have graduated from LDC status in an age where our economies, priorities and challenges are interlinked, no country should be left behind.  All governments and partners must respond decisively to address the challenges that we collectively face," he added.

Ramkalwan said that 20 percent of LDCs are small island developing states and a third of the LDCs are African.

The inequality of access to resources and opportunities are factors hindering the development of LDCs and SIDS across all continents and regions.

"Such inequality has resulted in a development imbalance worsened by the unprecedented greenhouse gas emissions leaving our climate and ecosystem in peril. Developing countries stand to be disproportionately affected by the effects of climate change and must now face the challenges of global warming for which we share minimal responsibility," said Ramkalawan.

Seychelles' President said that support needs to be extended in order for countries to sustain their progress and thus ensure that traditional donor-recipient relationships are transformed into mutual partnerships.

"Countries such as ours continue to remain vulnerable in spite of their graduation to the high-income status. Climate change threatens our livelihoods and existence regardless of economic status," he explained.

Ramkalawan highlighted that the key difference is that many developed countries have the means to build their resilience in the face of disasters and external shocks.

"The time has come for international organisations like the OECD and multi-development banks to stop using only GDP per capita as a measurement of development thus restricting access to concessionary financing for development needs. One size does not fit all. We need to reorganise the needs of countries with unique vulnerabilities, vulnerabilities affecting SIDS and LDCs alike," he added.

Ramkalawan said that he has been advocating for the global adoption of a multi-dimensional vulnerability index (MVI) at each opportunity he got.

"This offers a targeted approach that will not only complement but improve the efficacy of development cooperation permitting countries in vulnerable situations to access concessional financing and address our needs," he added.

Ramkalawan said the 5th Conference is a welcome and positive step in the direction and that the Doha Programme of Action "is the roadmap we have to follow to develop our full potential and resilience while progressing on the trajectory to sustainable development."

"It is my hope that in the not-too-distant future we shall have a gathering of strong and resilient states, with poverty and underdevelopment no longer an affliction of the many," he concluded.  

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Tags: Least Developed Countries

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