Press release

Minister Valentin addresses UNESCO General Conference

November 10, 2021

Education Minister, Dr Justin Valentin, addressed the 41stSession of the General Conference (41st GC) of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation(UNESCO) on 10th November. Minister Valentin who is heading Seychelles delegation to the 41st GC being held at UNESCO Head Office in Paris, France, delivered hisstatement during the general debate segment of this event which kicked off on 9th November and will run until 24thNovember. 

Minister Valentin started his 6-minute with a message from President Wavel Ramkalawan on the occasion of the 75thanniversary of the organisation which will be celebrated on 12th November in a special event. In his message, President Ramkalawan said, “On behalf of the people of Seychelles, I wish our organization a happy 75th anniversary. Through the delivery of its triple mandates, UNESCO has contributed immensely to fighting some of the worst forms of inequalities in our world. We should build on our past successes and learn from our shortcomings to contribute in the emergence of a world with a brighter future.

In the speech delivered in English and French, two of the country’s three national languages, Minister Valentin pointed out that “Seychelles benefits fromassistance from UNESCO for different projects,especially under the Participation Programme which is contributing significantly to our sustainable development agenda. ». He added that Seychelles “strongly promotes Sustainable Development because our survival depends on it » and as a Small Island Developing State, we are directly impacted by the effects of climate change. »

Echoing the central message of President Ramkalawan at COP26 in Glasgow, the Education Minister remarked that iclimate change is not dealt with « Small Island Developing States like the Seychelles, risk losing some of their islands including Aldabra, a UNESCO world heritage site in the Seychelles. » and that « this is a side reminder of our vulnerability. » He emphasized that « the irony is that while our development model of complying with climate change agendas and protocols, and our effort in promoting sustainable development has resulted in Seychelles gaining a High-Income Country status, we have unfortunately become the victims of our success since we have lost access to concessionary finance in most instances,» adding “ in Seychelles, we feel that we are being penalized for our hard work. »

He reiterated the call made by the Government of Seychelles, « that the vulnerability index be adopted as the benchmark to calculate support for small states like Seychelles as Income Index is no longer a relevant yardstick. »

Minister Valentin said that his vision is to improve the performance of Seychelles educational system sothat it delivers high quality outcomes. He explained that the new strategy that will activate this vision will transform the country’s educational system into one that facilitates the deployment of new technologies which will lead to innovations in education. 

Minister Valentin told the 41st GC that despite its vulnerability Seychelles will continue to adhere to the principles and values espoused by UNESCO because these will assist Seychelles transform its vulnerability into resilience. 

He advocated the idea of a consortium of universities developing an interdisciplinary Masters as one mechanism for boosting regional integration in the South West Indian Ocean and South East Africa. 

While in France, Minister Valentin will also meetother SIDS ministers, the leadership of UNESCO and some of his colleagues from the region.  Other members of the ministerial delegation are Mr David Andre, director of the Seychelles National Institute for Culture, Heritage and Arts (SNICHA), Mr Ralph Agrippine, Chargé d’affaires at the Seychelles embassy in France, Mrs Vicky Michel, secretary general of the UNESCO National Commission; and Mrs Miera Savy, international cooperation advisor at SNICHA.