‘There is hope for a legally binding climate agreement in Paris’- Seychelles President
Wed, 24 September 2014
Following the completion of the UN Climate Summit in New York, President James Michel has said that he is optimistic and has hope that a legally binding agreement will be adopted in Paris next year at the conference of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC).
“The UN Climate Summit has given a new momentum to the process of achieving successful climate talks that will be acceptable to all of us, small islands included, and I have much hope that we will reach an agreement in Paris next year,” said President Michel.
Mr. Michel said he was also encouraged by the support Seychelles has received in various discussions on the Blue Economy concept, which Seychelles has developed and promoted in international fora, having received support from countries in Africa, Europe, the Americas and Asia.
The President also said that in his talks with EU, Commonwealth and UN partners, the concept of a Vulnerability Index for small island states was also widely welcomed.
While in New York, President James Michel also attended a reception hosted by US President Barack Obama, and then a dinner hosted by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon , where the Seychelles President was among 20 selected heads of state for discussions on the way forward to the Lima and Paris climate talks.
The President attended the opening ceremony of the general debate of the 69th General Assembly of the United Nations on Wednesday. The UNGA was opened by the Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon.
Furthermore Mr. Michel had several meetings in the sidelines of the UNGA.
President of the 69th UN General Assembly
President Michel met with the new President of the 69th General Assembly of the UN, Sam Kahamba Kutesa, who was formerly Foreign Minister of Uganda.
They discussed climate change, sustainable development and the Blue Economy, as well as the issues affecting Small Island Developing States.
The UNGA President also spoke to President Michel about the issues of women’s empowerment, rights and education, which will be important topics during his mandate, and commended Seychelles on its achievements in these areas.
President of Kenya
President Michel held bilateral talks with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta. They had met in August in Washington in the margins of the US-Africa Summit, and took the opportunity of the New York meeting to review the progress made in the bilateral cooperation programmes.
The issues of regional security and piracy were subjects of discussion, as well as fisheries and tourism.
The two leaders expressed their satisfaction with the nature and progress of bilateral talks and agreed to further strengthen bilateral cooperation.
EU Commissioner for Climate Action
The President met with the European Union Commissioner for Climate Action, Connie Hedegaard. They spoke about the need for a legally binding agreement on climate change on the basis of expected temperature rises of no more than 2 degrees celsius and reviewed the results of the UN Climate Summit.
They agreed that such a binding agreement was essential in the UNFCC conference in Paris, and that the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) has an important role to play in ensuring that the targets on carbon emission reductions remain ambitious and without further compromise.
They also spoke about the Vulnerability Index which was developed by the EU and the Commonwealth, which would help small island states to get a fairer deal within the global financing mechanisms.
The President spoke about Seychelles’ proposed debt-for-adaptation swap programme, which would enable small islands such as Seychelles to swab their debt for environmental conservation programmes, in an innovative way to fight climate change.