Seychelles President appeals to world leaders to take action now in fight against climate change
Tue, 23 September 2014
President James Michel addressed the UN Climate Summit in New York this morning with an emotional appeal on behalf of islanders all around the world, for world leaders to take decisive action now to reach an agreement to halt climate change.
He asked them not to ignore the truth about climate change, and warned that it is time for action and not just for speeches.
“We have been given four minutes to address this plenary. It doesn’t matter. It is four minutes too many, I say! For now is not the time for speeches, but for action. We have heard it all before: the well-crafted speeches, the promises and the exhortations… We have also heard the scientific facts, the complaints, the pleas for help from those on the front line: Small Island Developing States.”
President Michel reiterated his statement made in Samoa at the UN SIDS Conference earlier this month, where he had called climate change ‘a crime against humanity.’
“Climate change – on our current, avid path – is a crime against humanity. We are all guilty. And we are all victims. But increasingly, SIDS themselves, are refusing to be victims,” said President Michel.
He said that islands are taking up the challenge to build their resilience and finding innovative ways to tackle their uncertain situation.
“Seychelles is hoping to finalise innovative debt for adaptation swaps that allow us to create marine protected areas that build climate resilience, while receiving debt reduction. We also call for more ownership by islands and coastal states of our ‘Blue Economy’, strengthening our ability to build resilience, sustainability, food security and economic prosperity. We need to take into consideration a Vulnerability Index for SIDS,” he said.
President Michel called for the Paris agreement in 2015 to be a protocol under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Chang (UNFCC) and said that it must be an ambitious and legally binding agreement that is applicable to all and must be adopted within the shortest possible timeframe.
“We must agree ambitious targets on the basis of common but differentiated responsibility. We call for the urgent operationalisation of the Warsaw International Mechanism for loss and damage and for a permanent seat on the Executive Committee of the Mechanism to be allocated to SIDS.We must mobilise real adaption funding for all countries particularly taking into consideration the vulnerability of SIDS,” said the President.
The President said that recently, a Seychellois child wrote to the Secretary General of the United Nations in a heartfelt plea, which resonates with all islanders. He quoted the child saying; « We are small, » he wrote, « and to many we are insignificant … I am an islander and proud of it, for there is no other place I would wish to be my home … Our pleas are lost in all the noises made by the great of this world. While they count their profits, we are left unheard, forgotten … »
Mr. Michel asked world leaders to not forget our children in this year of climate action.