Speech by Mr. Joel Morgan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Transport of Seychelles, on the Occasion of The United Nations Summit, For The Adoption Of The Post-2015 Agenda, New York, 25-27th September 2015
Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, UN Secretary General
Mr. Sam Kutesa
Mr. Mogens Lykketoft
Ladies and Gentlemen
In September 2000, Seychelles, along with 189 other UN Member States, endorsed the Millennium Declaration at the UN Summit which embodied eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Today, we can say that a lot of changes have taken place at the global, regional as well as national levels during the past 15 years. However, as we come to the end of this 15 year process, it is important to note that there are still huge disparities across and within countries.
The MDGs have saved the lives of millions and improved conditions for many more. The work is not complete and it must continue in the new development era.
Seychelles takes pride in having achieved most of the Millennium Development Goals and some were achieved even before the process was launched. For example, in education and health, Seychelles had already been having near 100% enrolment of both girls and boys in primary schools. Women giving birth were assured of the best possible care and the attention of trained personnel. Child mortality was already low compared to many other countries with similar GDP. Environmental protection was already a flagship cause for Seychelles. Despite these achievements, my country continues to inspire greater impetus to ensure that the few unaccomplished challenges of the MDGs are fully met.
17 Sustainable Development Goals with 169 associated targets which are incorporated and indivisible will be announced today. World leaders have never before pledged common action and ventured across such an expansive and universal policy agenda. Reflecting on the MDGs and looking further on to the next fifteen years, there should be no issue that we cannot deliver on our mutual responsibility to put an end to poverty, leave no one behind and generate a world of human dignity for all.
We believe that the Post-2015 Development Agenda must continue to put greater emphasis on the fight against climate change, poverty, education including early childhood development and higher education and a strong emphasis on gender equality as the tools to achieving sustainable development and strengthening international support for SIDS. The more widely the SDGs, a to-do list for the people and the planet, are understood by everyone, the more politicians will take them seriously and governments will finance them properly, refer to them frequently and make them work. It is the most important long-term plan we have for our survival.
Seychelles continues to develop national strategic documents which we hope, as we aim to achieve the SDGs, will provide policies for a more superior community commitment in building the future Seychelles ought to have. We have this year extended the level of education from 10 to 11 years compulsory studies.
2015 was an important year in achieving agreement on diverse key development issues, from the Addis Ababa Action Agenda to the forthcoming climate change conference in Paris, COP21. Seychelles supports the outcome document “Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”. I wish to highlight Goal 14 “Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development”.
For SIDS, our smallness and our seclusion are structural elements of our vulnerability. The ever-increasing threats around our oceans and the relative call for control of these threats boost this vulnerability. With 75% of our planet made up by oceans, the weak global governance of our oceanic spaces undermines our overall security. We are all vulnerable.
Seychelles, like many SIDS, has not accepted to simply being an onlooker to these issues. We are adopting the prospect of being large oceanic nations. We are aiming to better manage our oceans, setting an example of good oceanic governance.
Like many other island nations, Seychelles claims a vast Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of 1.3 million sq km, the second largest in Africa. The country has drawn considerable benefits from its ocean resources, with the development of fisheries, tourism, trade, international and domestic shipping to support trade. At the same time, it has established itself as a global leader in marine conservation, with the government having time and again maintained that healthy oceans and seas are vital to a sustainable future for all the planet and not only for small island developing states.
Undeniably, over the past few years, the emerging concept of the Blue Economy has been adopted by many SIDS as a method to realize sustainable growth based around an ocean economy.
Seychelles is calling for enhancing the capacity of developing nations to sustainably harness the potential of their oceanic spaces.
With the support of the UAE, Seychelles held its 1st Blue Economy Conference in January last year, organized as part of the Sustainability Week. The conference was a success as it enabled the global community to also share its views and objectives for the future in relation to the blue economy concept and it established a solid partnership in order to mobilize more research into ocean based economic activity compatible with the sustainable development of our planet.
The success of this 1st Conference led to the pledge by the African Union Heads of State at the AU 22nd Ordinary Session to embrace and expand the Blue Economy concept as an essential part of Africa’s future development expansion as outlined in the AU Agenda 2063.
Seychelles is planning to host a 2nd Blue Economy Summit in January 2016, with the support of the UAE, during the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week. The Summit is perfectly timed to build upon the outcome of this Summit on the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda and UNFCC COP21 and to conclude with a declaration that would support the implementation of the Blue Economy concept, with an enrichment of relevant national and international initiatives for concrete deliverables.
Seychelles will continue to reaffirm the importance of the Blue Economy as part of efforts to develop a “Green Economy” to better harness our natural resources for sustainable development for combating climate change, for growth and food security.
Mr. Secretary General,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The new Sustainable Development Goals and targets which will come into effect on 1st January 2016 will channel the decisions we take over the next 15 years. All of us will work to put into operation the Agenda within our own countries and at the regional and global levels, taking into account different national realities, capacities and levels of development and respecting national policies and priorities. They are universal goals and targets which engage the whole world, developed and developing countries alike. No one should be left behind.
» All speeches