The Sustainable Development Goals can help us define a new African century, Says Seychelles
Seychelles has called for a transformative approach to sustainable development when addressing the Africa Regional Consultative Meeting on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) currently being held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Speaking as head of the Seychelles delegation, Designated Minister and Minister for Social Affairs, Community Development and Sports, Mr. Vincent Meriton called on the gathered Ministers to “effectively blend social progress, inclusive and equitable growth and sustainable environmental management” when constructing the SDGs.
The Designated Minister further added that the Goals formulated needed to have a universal applicability, reflecting the different contexts and situations across Africa:
“Our goals should better reflect the existing situation our continent faces- from landlocked countries to LDCs to Africa’s Small Island Developing states (SIDS).
“A few of the key areas that we feel need particular emphasis are the provision of quality education for sustainability; the development of an inclusive green and blue economy, with a direct focus on the importance of oceans, and the important of fostering people-participatory processes.”
Minister Meriton made special mention of the need to develop oceanic spaces, not only as a lifeline for islands but for the potential they offer Africa as a whole:
“The ‘Blue Economy’ in particular represents an unparalleled opportunity for Africa.
“Through the blue economy, Africa can claim ownership of this space which too often benefits distant nations ahead of African coastal states- whether it be in fisheries, trade routes or mineral exploration. We can transform Africa’s oceans from being sources of raw products for distant nations to a space where Africa’s trade needs are prioritized, and where Africa can better protect its oceanic resources.
“Through the SDGs, we must transform Africa’s oceanic spaces into spaces for development- not just extraction.
“This is a matter of survival for island nations- but it is also a matter of sustainability for our whole continent.
“Without a fundamental transformation in our approach to oceanic development- we will continue to trade African resources in hubs outside our continent, we will continue to extract minerals while profits are banked elsewhere, and we will continue to see profit of others come before protection of what is ours.”
The Seychelles delegation, which includes the participation of the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Jean-Paul Adam, the Permanent Representative to the African Union, Ambassador Joseph Nourrice and the Special Advisor for Social Affairs, Mrs. Marie-Josee Bonne, are participating in the consultation aimed at fostering a common African position to the SDGs, which is the development concept that emerged from the Rio+20 Earth Summit 2012 in order to continue the global development agenda after the conclusion of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2015.
The outcomes of this Ministerial gathering are expected to feed into the African Union process in devising Africa’s common position on development post-2015.
- The Africa regional meeting currently being held is a culmination of numerous smaller regional consultations on the SDGs which includes the Sub-Regional Preparatory Meeting for the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS), which Seychelles hosted from the 17th to the 19th of July 2013 at Kempinski Resort, Baie Lazare. The conference for Small Island States is expected to take place in Samoa 2014.
- A summit to finalise the SDGs is expected to take place in the third quarter of 2014.
- Minister Meriton's full intervention can be found on the MFA website at the following link http://www.mfa.gov.sc/static.php?content_id=20&news_id=220