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Statement by Minister Jean Paul Adam Launching of the 2013 Human Development Report “The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World” 15 March 2013

15.03.2013

It is my pleasure to be here this afternoon and to welcome you all to the launching ceremony of the 2013 Human Development Report of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The theme for this year’s report is “The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World”. A most apt and celebratory theme for this year, as it formally recognizes the role the South (our developing nations) and inevitably, the Small Island Developing States have to play in the progress of human development. We all have a story to tell, so let us provide the space for stories of change, of real change to human lives, be told.

The publication of the annual Human Development report has always been an important occasion for reflection and stock-taking of not only the achievements but the challenges that exist. Furthermore, that there is a necessity for us to seek new ways to confront these global challenges.

The report highlights 3 notable ‘drivers of development’; a proactive developmental state, tapping of global markets and determined social policy. We should take heed to these findings and use the knowledge to our advantage. We should never forget that all our efforts should be people centred development.

We are cautioned however not to directly compare the ranking of our countires with previous reports (because the underlying data and methods have changed) but instead to assess the index trends. The Table on ‘Human Development Index Trends’ does adequatley show real changes in values and ranks over time reflecting the actual progress countries have made.

Seychelles  therefore has steadily progressed positively in its trend with the Human Deleopment Index (HDI) and we have moved from a the category of ‘High Human Development’ to the category of‘Very High Human Development”. This should be well noted, appreciated and celebrated. However, maintaining our status will not be an easy task and we still need the assistance, knowledge and support of all our devlopment partners in doing so. This high level category does not mean that we can now lax our efforts nor should we seen as a success state that no longer requires further assistance.

 

Ladies and gentlemen,

Seychelles foreign policy operates on the principle that we are all connected.    And we believe that SIDS can be the connectors for some of the success stories of human development. SIDS can be the blueprints of innovative development structures. The ongoing discussion on the ‘blue economy’ for example is being spearheaded by SIDS and was included on the RIO+20 agenda because of the determination of SIDS to find new ways of solving the challenges we face. Seychelles has accepted to consider the ‘Debt-for Adaptation swap’ as a new concept being defined and shaped on the global arena.

We should not hesitate to go beyond the tried and tested solutions of the past. As the report highlights, not all of the previous approved models of governance have helped countries in today’s challenges but in actually finding different paths, have many of us continued to prosper.

As was said by the President Michel on his first visit to Sri Lanka last August, Islands are demonstrating global leadership and rapid progress in addressing sustainable development challenges. He added that they islands are often at the epicenter of global geopolitics and therefore have a critical role to play in relation to the reform and development of the world’s multilateral architecture.

This remains very relevant and pertinent to the theme of the report we are launching today. I think this should be the message we take forward.  The report calls for a critical look at global governance, as global development becomes more complex and transboundary. We have 20th century institutions working in the 21st century. We have to review the structures and mechanisms that exists. Africa still does not have a permanent seat on the UN Security Council, despite the leading role it is playing in world politics.

Seychelles is bidding for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for 2017-2018 as we believe that we have a role to play in global governance, that we can be the voice for Africa, that we have a story to tell (not a long story but a good story).

The South still faces numerous challenges, and notably the Seychelles still has the issue of piracy to tackle. However, as the report indicates, answers lie in regional integration. Seychelles is combating the scourge of Piracy through its strong links with the region and with international donors. Our recent chairmanship of the ‘Indian Ocean Commission’ (IOC/COI) is testimony to the importance we accord to integration; that we are stronger when we are a sum of the parts. We are strengthening our partnership in the context of the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation

Regional integration, which can provide us with a strong tool to secure new market access and investment opportunities. In the era of global economic crisis and fierce global competition for market access, it is important for South-South partnerships, especially among like-minded island nations, to enhance economic cooperation to promote trade and investment with each other.

We remain thankful for all the work done by UNDP to ensure that the reports and the formulae’s used are continuously refined and elaborated upon. The reports provide us with ‘snap shots’ of the progress or in some cases, regress of our nation’s achievements. The reports should be seen as a barometer of change, not be levied as criticisms but seen as constructive indicators for the future.

We also wish to thank our development partners that have assisted us in implementing concrete projects that have made a significant difference to the people of the Seychelles. We are proud to say that this has been largely part of the South-South corporation, were significant assistance has been provided from our fellow ‘south’ developing countries and here I refer to India and China to name but a few. They are shining examples of the ‘Rise of the South’ and how human progress is the heart of development.

The report also indicates that “there is a clear positive correlation between past public investment in social and physical infrastructure and progress in HDI”. This is true of the Seychelles.

With the support of other international partners, such as UNDP, we are certain that we will maintain the achievements reflected in this report today, and we should take this moment to acknowledge and celebrate these achievements and look forward to finding new and innovative ways to increase the well being of our nation.

We already have plans to modernize certain aspects of our national set ups for data collection and hope that the implementation of new mechanisms will increase the proficiency of our country to collect, store, analyse, report and distribute larger amounts of data to the local and international audience.

I would like to now officially launch the 2013 Human Development Report; The Rise of the South, and urge you all to disseminate this document and the impetus behind it to a wide audience.

 

I thank you

 

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