UN agencies will be mobilized to implement recommendations from SIDS conference, says UNSG Ban Ki-Moon during meeting with Seychelles President in Samoa

Diplomacy |Author: Sharon Uranie | August 31, 2014, Sunday @ 16:57| 6256 views

President James Michel and the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon (Mervyn Marie, Seychelles News Agency)

(Seychelles News Agency) - Seychelles President James Michel has arrived in Apia, Samoa for the UN conference on small island developing states and has on the eve of the event held talks with the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

According to a press statement issued by State House this afternoon, small island developing states, climate change and piracy were amongst key issues discussed during the meeting earlier today.

On the issue of small island developing states they talked about the work being done by the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), with both Michel and Ban expressing the desire to see the institution grow in capacity and become stronger.

“We need to strengthen AOSIS to build institutional capacity to better represent the voices of SIDS… We will continue to speak with a loud and strong voice, as one voice of the SIDS,” said Michel in the statement.

The Blue Economy concept and how it can be integrated into SIDS development strategy was also largely discussed with the Seychellois head of state stressing on how the development of the blue economy can enable SIDS to mobilize untapped resources.

“We all have land constraints but we are also guardians of large Exclusive Economic Zones and oceanic spaces. We are calling for a framework that assists SIDS in mobilizing the necessary research to allow them to better manage their oceanic resources,” said Michel.

The vulnerability of SIDS and their debt issues are amongst matters of importance which Michel said should be addressed at the Samoa conference.

For his part Ban noted that UN agencies would be mobilized to ensure that the recommendations of the SIDS following the Samoa conference are fully implemented adding that “Seychelles’ participation at the conference would make a great difference in shaping the future development agenda, and that he would ensure that Seychelles’ concerns and aspirations would be reflected in the outcome.”

“I count on your continued involvement and leadership,” said Ban.

The third international conference on small island states is the last high-level UN event that is scheduled before the United Nation Secretary-General’s September Climate Summit. Along that line, Michel took the opportunity during his meeting with Ban to commend him for his efforts “to put climate change on the international agenda as a matter of urgency, especially the upcoming Climate Change Summit in New York.”

In the statement issued this afternoon, State House noted that Ban described climate change as a number one priority for the world community, particularly the rising sea levels adding that he would be mobilizing various governments to materialize their pledges for funding for climate change mitigation and adaptation.

President James Michel presents the United Nations Secretary General, Ban ki Moon with a book entitled ‘Seychelles A Determined Island Nation: The Aspirations of Early Childhood Children’. The booklet contains drawings accompanied by a message to the Seychelles President James Michel, from Seychellois children aged between 3 to 7 years old on their aspiration for the country in 2020 and beyond. The children had requested that the book with their aspirations is brought to the UN Conference on Small Island Developing States, in Samoa. (Mervyn Marie, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY

Piracy was another issue of importance discussed during the meeting.

While Michel thanked the United Nations for its role in assisting Seychelles to build capacity and infrastructure to bring pirates to justice as well as repatriate them after conviction, through the UNODC, the head of the UN thanked Seychelles for its efforts to solve the problem of piracy off the coast of Somalia.

“Piracy has been reduced considerably, but we need to continue to be vigilant…Until the security situation is resolved in Somalia, until the rule of law is established, piracy will continue to be a threat in our region,” said Michel in the statement.

The Indian Ocean island nation of the Seychelles, geographically close to the Somali coast, has placed itself at the forefront of the fight against piracy.

The island country prosecuted the largest number of Somali pirates between 2009-2013. To date 124 pirates have been convicted. 23 are awaiting trial.

Ban also stressed on the need for the international community to continue to support the Indian Ocean archipelago in the fight against the scourge and to improve regional capacity in relation to maritime security.

Cultural event organised for the opening of the conference, which President Michel also attended. The formal opening of the third SIDS conference in Samoa will take place tomorrow morning (Mervyn Marie, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY

The Seychellois head of state is amongst some 3,000 visiting dignitaries from 193 UN member states who are being welcomed in Apia Samoa for the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS), which will begin tomorrow September 1 until September 4.

Over the four days heads of state, ministers, private sector businesses, academics, NGOs and journalists from all over the world will be engaged in a once-in-a-decade United Nations meeting to discuss small island issues.

‘The sustainable development of small island developing states through genuine and durable partnerships’ is the theme chosen for the gathering.

Before heading to Apia, Samoa Seychelles President James Michel was on an official visit in New Zealand where he had bilateral discussions with the country’s Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae.

This was Michel’s first official visit to the island nation in the southwestern part of the Pacific Ocean.





Tags: Ban Ki-moon, President James Michel, United Nations, Samoa, New Zealand, climate change, SIDS, piracy, Blue Economy


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