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SIDS4: Seychelles' President calls for united front by small island states in face of shared crises

Victoria, Seychelles | May 28, 2024, Tuesday @ 12:21 in National » GENERAL | By: Alisa Uzice Edited by: Betymie Bonnelame | Views: 2623
SIDS4: Seychelles' President calls for united front by small island states in face of shared crises

Ramkalawan made this statement during his address at the heads of state and government general debate Plenary Segment of the SIDS4 conference. (State House)

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Seychelles' President Wavel Ramkalawan emphasised the importance of the small island developing states (SIDS) presenting a united front at the Fourth International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS4) that officially began on Monday in St. Johns, Antigua and Barbuda.

Ramkalawan made this statement during his address at the heads of state and government general debate Plenary Segment of the SIDS4 conference.

"Today, as we convene, our shared commitment is to confront the distinctive challenges confronting small island nations. Despite three decades of recognition of the special considerations deserved by SIDS, we face a complex web of interlinked issues, from climate change and rising sea levels to environmental degradation, devastating pandemics, geopolitical tensions, economic vulnerability, and sustainable development," said Ramkalawan.

He added that the outcomes have spiralled into mounting debt levels and a dearth of capacity to invest in resilience and climate action, making the pursuit of enduring prosperity a daunting and seemingly unending endeavour.

Ramkalawan said all SIDS are insular and not attached to continents and therefore face similar challenges and vulnerabilities.

"The climate crisis will destroy all of us. Already, we are being hit by coastal erosion, coral bleaching, rise in sea level, stronger storm surges, and destruction of our biodiversity and sea life in general. Tourism forms an important part of our economy and this is closely linked to the beauty of our environment. Speaking with one voice will ensure we protect our economic gains and thus allow us to continue giving our children and people good education, appropriate health services and a good standard of living," he stressed.

The head of state of Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, emphasised the importance of the Multi-dimensional Vulnerability Index (MVI) for SIDS and said, "Our intention is not to beg or rob others, but rather we simply want access to concessionary financing for us to be able to face the future and survive. That is why we believe in an MVI."

In his address, the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, called out to the Group of 20 (G20), which represent 80 percent of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, to take accountability for the effects that climate change is having on SIDS.

He reaffirmed the United Nations' stance of supporting the SIDS.

"We cannot accept the disappearance of any country or culture under the rising waves. The idea that an entire island state could become collateral damage for profiteering by the fossil fuel industry or competition between larger economies is simply obscene," said Guterres. 

He added that the SIDS "served as the world's conscience in the climate crisis and it's in large part because of you, the SIDS, to your effort that we have the UN framework convention and the Paris agreement."

Guterres said that the past decades have delivered a series of blows that have set behind the SIDS development such as natural catastrophes like hurricanes, which have caused enormous amounts of damage.

He added that SIDS also deserves economic justice and some of these countries desperately need resources for climate mitigation and finance is the fuel.

The SIDS4 is taking place from May 27-30.Under the overarching theme of "Charting the course toward resilient prosperity," the conference will assess the ability of SIDS to achieve sustainable development, including the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The conference is held every 10 years and brings together representatives from around 37 member states of the United Nations.  Discussions will focus on revitalising SIDS' economies, aid effectiveness and increasing climate finance in the wake of the 28th UN Framework Conference on Climate Change (COP28).

Participants will also discuss human capital, health and youth, as well as address data and digital technologies – an area of focus of the upcoming Summit of the Future in September 2024.

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Tags: SIDS4, Multi-dimensional Vulnerability Index, United Nations

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