The President of the Republic of Seychelles, Mr. James Alix Michel is travelling to New-York to participate in the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly which will take place at the end of this month. This session of the General Assembly is an historic one as the United Nations is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year.
President Michel will be accompanied by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Transport, Mr. Joel Morgan, the Secretary General in the Office of the President, Mrs. Lise Bastienne, the diplomatic adviser to the President, Ambassador Callixte D’Offay, the Seychelles Ambassador to the US and Permanent Representative of Seychelles to the United Nations, Ambassador Marie-Louise Potter and the Ambassador for Small Island Developing States and Climate Change, Ambassador Ronald Jumeau.
President Michel will address the UN General Assembly which will launch the Post-2015 Development Agenda, with sustainable development goals at its core.
It is a vast universal development agenda, with 17 objectives and many associated targets, that aims to promote the social, economic and environmental aspects of sustainable and inclusive development. The goals and targets which will come into effect on 1st January 2016 will stimulate action over the next 15 years in areas of critical importance for humanity and the planet in order to change the world for the better by 2030.
This 70th Session of the UNGA will constitute one of the most important milestones in the Organisation’s history as it will be the first time that world leaders pledge common action and endeavours across such a broad and universal policy agenda.
It will be recalled that Seychelles, under the leadership of President Michel, along with other fellow Small Island Developing States, has been actively engaged in the discourse about the design and the shaping of the new agenda, as it has been with the Millennium Development Goals and with major development-related processes.
Seychelles has made a strong impact over the past years within the UN system with its work through its active and constructive contribution in major conferences and summits, the outcomes of which have laid a solid foundation for sustainable development and have helped to shape the new agenda. In the process, Seychelles has emerged as a strong proponent of reaching a fair deal for SIDS.
These conferences and summits include the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), the Lima and the New York Conferences on Climate Change, the Samoa Summit on Small Island Developing States, the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Reduction, and the Addis Ababa Conference on Financing for Development.
It is to be underlined that the priorities and concerns of Small Island States (SIDS) are well represented in the sustainable Development Goals. With this new agenda, the international system has now a sustainable vision for SIDS and that AOSIS has a place on the global agenda.
SIDS, as a group have been able to leverage their vulnerabilities to advocate for stronger development partnerships. As effective negotiating partners, they have been one of the catalysts in the crafting of the new sustainable development agenda.
Island states, as barometers for development, have demonstrated global leadership and rapid progress in addressing sustainable development challenges and inspiring other countries around the world to do the same.
As an island nation Seychelles greatly appreciates goal 14 of the SDGs which refers to the sustainable development of oceans in line with the Blue Economy agenda that the country is spearheading. It recognises that the Oceanic Space is one which provides for the sustainability of the planet.
It will be an opportunity for Seychelles to underscore the importance it attaches to the new agenda and its determination to ensure its implementation, nationally, regionally and globally.
Indeed the world leaders have committed themselves to working to fully implement the new agenda, through a revitalized and enhanced partnership, in the spirit of global solidarity, supported by the concrete policies and actions outlined in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development adopted by the General Assembly on 27 July 2015.
This revitalized partnership will bring together governments, parliamentarians, the private sector, civil society, the United Nations System and other actors and mobilizing all available resources.
Looking ahead to the International Conference on Climate Change in Paris in December, the President will re-emphasise the importance of reaching an ambitious and universal climate agreement and the need for real financing options to be made available to SIDS. In this context, it will reiterate its call on all developed countries to fulfill their commitments for the mobilization of $100 billion annually by 2020 for the operationalization of the Green Climate Fund (GCF).
The President will have the opportunity to meet with the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, and to express to him his appreciation for his inspiring leadership of the United Nations and his unwavering support to the needs and aspirations of SIDS. He will also be meeting his counterparts and sharing his insights and perspectives on shared bilateral and global interests.
In the margins of the General Assembly Session, President Michel will also participate in the 2015 Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual meeting, at the invitation of Mr. Bill Clinton, former President of the United States of America. CGI will bring together global leaders from all sectors of society to develop innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges.
The Clinton Global Initiative, having taken up the idea of SIDS being guardians of the oceans, a concept that President Michel expounded during his participation at the Samoa SIDS Summit in 2014, will at this meeting launch the Blue Guardians Initiative which is being developed into a global fund-raising development programme for SIDS.
At the end of October, President Michel will take the SIDS message on climate change and the Blue Economy to the India-Africa Summit in Delhi, India, as well as the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Malta in November.
The challenges facing small island sates in reducing vulnerability and the ongoing Commonwealth project of “Building Resilience of Small States,” as well as the strategic vision for Small States 2050 will be discussed.
The meetings will be of key importance for garnering support for the Paris conference on climate change as well as accelerating the implementation of the outcomes of sustainable and inclusive development, with reference to the UN process on the Post-2015 Global Development Agenda and Financing for Development.