Seychelles President addresses 70th UN general assembly session calling for action, determination and commitment to address global challenges
Seychelles President James Michel addressing the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, in New York, on Tuesday. (UN Photo Library)
(Seychelles News Agency) - The Seychelles President James Michel has said that world leaders have both “a duty and an obligation” to make the world a better place for the present and future generation.
This he said can be achieved if those in leadership positions “accept their responsibilities, cast aside indecisiveness and look beyond the narrow pursuit of ideological and national interests.”
Michel said this on Tuesday when addressing the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, in New York.
He used his address to highlight different plights in the world today, including wars and conflicts, growing poverty, hunger, famine and epidemics, the rise of inequality, injustice and disparity as well as the threat posed by climate change.
Quoting the preamble of the United Nations charter “We the peoples of the United Nations determined…” the Seychellois Head of State said the visionary words drafted 70 years ago has provided the UN with its sense of purpose and the world with a vision.
Nevertheless, he strongly noted a lack of determination to solve these global issues in spite of all the good intentions and the inspiration that continue to be drawn from the UN Charter.
'Deep reform' needed to make the United nations more representative of present day realities
Going forward Michel spoke about the need for international organisations including the United Nations to be made more relevant to present day realities.
“Let’s start with the United Nations itself. Its lofty ideals are as relevant today as when it was founded. However, its structures of governance – in particular, the Security Council – are not. In today’s world, it represents a fundamentally undemocratic and unrepresentative institution,” said Michel.
“The same is applicable to the international organisations set up in the wake of the creation of the United Nations. We have to make them relevant to the realities of the present era. We need action, determination and commitment to set things right and to make them all relevant to the century we live in. And to give true meaning to an all-inclusive and participatory democracy.”
The 70th session of the UN General Assembly has been dubbed ‘historic’ as it is welcoming the largest number of world leaders and also engaging them to commit to adopt and implement the new set of sustainable development goals aimed at ending extreme poverty, ensuring prosperity for all and tackling climate change over the next 15 years.
President Michel calls for resolute action on climate change
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was in fact a key focus of the Seychelles president’s address with particular attention on actions to fight climate change and its effects on small island nations.
“Climate change is not of the making of SIDS, yet we bear the full brunt of it. That is why we shall never cease to raise the issue in every forum, including this one. Because we are the conscience of the world.”
Highlighting the upcoming UN climate change conference in Paris in December, he has called for the global community to use the little time that is left to build further momentum and support to reach a legally binding agreement.
“We cannot allow ourselves to be condemned to the wrong side of history by our collective failure to reach an agreement. The stakes are too high. An agreement is within our reach provided we are able to summon collective political will and leadership. The time is now,” said Michel.
“..We must fulfil promises and commitments made, especially in terms of financing options to build climate resilience. In this regard, we call on all developed countries to fulfil their commitments for the mobilisation of $100 billion annually, by 2020, for the operationalisation of the Green Climate Fund.”
Agenda 2030's goal 14 provides the thrust for the Blue Economy
With regards to the Post 2015 agenda comprising of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets that will come into effect in January 2016, Michel said that it sets realistic goals, targets and a timeframe for the creation of a better world, leaving no one behind.
“It is an all-inclusive agenda which makes it abundantly clear that there can be no sustainable development without peace and no peace without sustainable development…Sustainability has always been and will continue to be at the heart of the development efforts of Seychelles. Together with our fellow SIDS we have been actively engaged in this discourse to ensure that our concerns and needs are adequately addressed.”
The Seychellois president called for pledges made by world leaders to achieve the 2030 agenda to be translated into concrete actions in order to address the different global challenges, while putting emphasis on the need for the vulnerabilities of SIDS to be taken into consideration.
“…We shall always insist on the need for a more tailored approach in the tackling of the specific challenges that we face. One which takes into account our vulnerabilities. The lack of an appropriate vulnerability index that can be applied affectively to development, hampers the effective empowerment of all UN members.”
Michel reiterated the importance of goal 14, which sets out to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for Seychelles and SIDS in general, as previously highlighted by the Seychelles Minister for Foreign Affairs and Transport on Monday.
“The goal of “conservation and sustainable use of the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development,’’ provides the thrust for the Blue Economy. This concept has been adopted by many Small Island Developing States as a mechanism to realise sustainable growth, based around an ocean economy and ocean governance.”
Global alliance to tackle piracy can be replicated to address terrorism and the refugee crises
Still on the issue of ocean conservation, President Michel stressed on the need for maritime security highlighting the need to remain vigilant vis-à-vis maritime security threats like piracy although the scourge is now on the decline in the Indian Ocean region.
“However, as we have demonstrated in the case of piracy, global alliances have made a difference in providing security when there was none. My hope is that this model is replicated to tackle other issues of similar ilk that are threatening our collective resolve to build lasting peace,” he said.
“The likes of terrorist organisations pose threats with lasting repercussions reverberating across borders. The growing refugee crisis reminds us that we should all shoulder the burden of fighting the ideologies of hate and embrace bonds of fraternity and solidarity.”
|Address by Seychelles President James Michel, at the general debate of the 70th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York on Tuesday. (United Nations Webcast) Video License: All Rights Reserved|
The Seychelles delegation in New York also include the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Transport, Joël Morgan, Seychelles Ambassador to the US and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Marie-Louise Potter, Diplomatic Advisor to the President, Ambassador Callixte d’Offay and the Ambassador for Small Island Developing States and Climate Change, Ambassador Ronny Jumeau.
While in New York President Michel has also attended a special session of the 2015 Clinton Global Initiative and the launch of the Blue Guardians initiative at the invitation of the former US President Bill Clinton and the Clinton Foundation, held on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly’s General Debate.