President Ramkalawan addresses the G77 and China Summit
16 September 2023 | Foreign Affairs
Havana, Cuba: 15 September 2023: The President of the Republic of Seychelles, Mr Wavel Ramkalawan delivered his statement during the opening session of the G77 plus China Summit General Debate on Friday afternoon.
During his address, President Ramkalawan highlighted the critical relevance of the aptly chosen G77 2023 Summit theme, indicating that G77 member states are constantly faced with common challenges that often deter their progress.
An excerpt of the President’s speech: “As we gather here, we are confronted by numerous obstacles that hinder our progress and threaten the well-being of our people. However, in the face of these challenges, we have a powerful tool at our disposal: the transformative potential of science, technology, and innovation.
They are the drivers of economic growth, social progress, and sustainable development. And they hold the key to unlocking new opportunities, creating jobs, and improving the lives of our citizens.
We rely on pioneering technologies to overcome the complexities of a world in flux to address global threats to food security, to health and to human security and equally, to mitigate and adapt against the detrimental impacts of climate change. ” said President Ramakalawan
He further stressed on the plights that Small Island Developing States (SIDs) similar to Seychelles are faced with, such as rising sea levels, extreme weather events, and the loss of biodiversity threatening their very existence and how science and innovation must and can play a crucial role. He urged member states to continue to invest in research and development to find sustainable solutions, discover renewable energy sources, and adapt to the constant changing climate.
“By leveraging the power of technology, we can build resilient communities, protect our natural resources, and ensure a sustainable future for future generations. With a growing world population, we are pressed to find resourceful ways to sustainably meet the ever-increasing demands for new products and services. Not only to satisfy the wants of a more consumerist society, but also to fulfill the basic needs of rural and isolated communities.
Science, technology and innovation are therefore key to finding an acceptable balance between responsible consumption and production on the one hand a tvdf nd sustainable societies on the other. That is why it is important, now more than ever, to keep people and our planet at the centre of scientific and technological advancement” added President Ramkalawan.
“Small Island Developing States (SIDS) face a unique set of challenges such as limited resources, vulnerability to climate change and geographical isolation. We must therefore rely on the transformative power of science, technology, and innovation to overcome these obstacles. Science provides the knowledge and understanding necessary to address pressing issues, such as sustainable resource management, biodiversity conservation, and climate change adaptation. Technology empowers SIDS by enhancing their connectivity, improving infrastructure, and facilitating access to critical services like healthcare and education. Innovation drives economic growth, fosters entrepreneurship, and creates opportunities for sustainable development. By embracing science, technology, and innovation, SIDS can leverage their unique strengths, harness their natural resources, and chart a path towards a prosperous and resilient future.
President Ramkalawan also spoke of the digital divide as another pressing challenge. He highlighted that in an increasingly interconnected world, access to information and communication technologies is no longer a luxury but rather a necessity. “It is imperative that we bridge the digital divide and ensure equal access to technology and innovation for all. By investing in our digital infrastructure, promoting digital literacy, and fostering innovation in our educational systems, we can empower our people, create opportunities, and narrow the socio-economic gaps that divide us.”
He urged the G77 leaders to adopt a more collaborative effort to bring about the necessary development required that is inclusive. “A collaboration of efforts and partners is necessary to bring about such development, leaving no one behind. South-South cooperation in scientific discovery, technological transfer, knowledge-sharing and capacity building is crucial.
We must therefore continue to build stronger partnerships and to use this platform to advance the interests of the Group 77. We cannot risk being left further behind in this new era. Placing people and our planet at the centre of development over profits would ensure that our progress serves humanity’s interests. For lasting peace, higher standards of living and prosperity.
He called for greater global integration and the need to also address issues such as embargoes which have a profound and detrimental impact on the fields of science, technology, and innovation and detrimental implications of measures to restrict or prohibit the exchange of goods, services, and knowledge between countries. Such limitations severely hinder scientific progress and impede the advancement of technology and innovation. In addition, they cause untold suffering to ordinary citizens.
A case in point is that of our host country. I take this opportunity to once again renew our full support to the Government and people of Cuba, and to reiterate our call for the end of the United States embargo against Cuba as per the UN Resolution” echoed President Ramkalawan.