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PRESIDENT MICHEL CALLS FOR INCREASED COOPERATION WITHIN COMESA TO TACKLE CLIMATE CHANGE AND PIRACY

10.06.2009

In his closing statement at the COMESA Summit, President Michel highlighted the fact that climate change and piracy are two of the biggest threats to food security and trade in the region.

He noted that COMESA has made great strides in promoting trade and investment among the countries of the region, the launching of the Customs Union being the latest initiative to enhance regional trade ties.

The President has called for diligence on climate change as it may lead to a new food crisis, as changing weather patterns and warmer and rising seas affect agriculture and fishing- "Climate change has the potential to trigger a food crisis on an unprecedented scale.  We depend on each other. We must find a common solution together. COMESA must pursue vigorously its climate change initiative whilst taking into account the serious threat it poses to the livelihood and resilience of SIDS."

Throughout the meetings leading up to the Summit, Seychelles and Mauritius have adopted a joint approach calling on COMESA to take an active role in identifying resources that can be used to tackle the scourge of piracy.

Enhanced regional trade depends heavily on safe sea lanes in the Indian Ocean. "We cannot effectively talk about food security and increasing maritime links without dealing with the problem of piracy" the President noted in his speech.

The President has highlighted the need for a long term approach focusing on finding ways of ensuring peace and stability within Somalia and a medium term approach which prioritizes resources available for surveillance and prevention of pirate attacks.

The President's participation in this 13th COMESA summit marks a first for a Seychellois head of state.  Following the visit of the Secretary General of COMESA, Mr. Sindiso Ngwenya, to Seychelles last month in the context of the 'Seychelles Forum', the President's participation marks Seychelles' movement to increased integration into regional and world economies.

"The reforms we have undertaken last year have made our economy more resilient and more dynamic.  As we tackle the challenges of this reform we should also be aware of the opportunities that exist with regional partners in the context of COMESA or SADC or our Indian Ocean Commission" the President has remarked following the end of the Summit.

The 13th COMESA Summit has taken place under the theme of 'Consolidating Regional Economic Integration through Value Addition, Trade and Food Security'.

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