Press release

Seychelles Active in UN Lead up to Global SIDS Meet

May 20, 2013

Seychelles has been very active in the United Nations’ preparations for the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in Samoa next year.

Seychelles’ climate change and SIDS Ambassador Ronny Jumeau was at the fore as various UN offices recently brought experts from around the world together in New York to provide technical input to small island developing states in the Caribbean, Pacific and AIMS (Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean and South China Seas) regions as they prepare for the Samoa conference.

Amb Jumeau first spoke as a panellist in a two-day Expert Group Meeting (EGM) in April entitled Oceans, Seas and Sustainable Development: Implementation and follow-up to Rio+20.  Mr Jumeau talked about small island developing states and their small land areas and limited resources in the context of large ocean states with huge ocean territories and a wealth of potential they were yet to fully understand and exploit.

Seychelles’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of some 1.3 million square kilometres, for example, is 3,000 times the size of the land area of all its islands together.  But there is more potential to this than just marine-based tourism, fishing and even oil and natural gas.

The EGM was organised by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), which is serving as the secretariat for the SIDS conference from 1st to 4th September 2014 in Apia, the capital of Samoa.

DESA then invited Amb Jumeau to deliver the keynote address at a second two-day EGM in April on Small Island Developing States and the Post-2015 Agenda. He pointed out that although most SIDS are middle income states, have done relatively well economically and will meet most if not all of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the target year of 2015, they will remain vulnerable, especially to external shocks, as the world moves into the post-2015 development era.

The Ambassador also presented the meeting’s key messages and recommendations on the last day.

Another Seychellois speaker at this EGM was Principal Secretary for Economic Policy and Planning Bertrand Belle who presented Seychelles as a case study to show that SIDS will remain economically vulnerable in the post-2015 development agenda despite the progress many of them have made.

During this EGM the Ambassador also gave separate tv and video interviews to South-South News and DESA on SIDS and the ongoing negotiations at the UN to chart the post-2015 development agenda and define the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which will succeed the MDGs.

In May the United Nations Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (OHRLLS) asked Amb Jumeau to be the moderator of the first half of its own four-day EGM organised in cooperation with UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) and the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea (DOALOS) in the UN Secretariat’s Office of Legal Affairs.

This EGM looked at The Significance of Marine Science and Technology for SIDS and The Importance of Capacity Building and Marine technology Transfer to SIDS to support Sustainable Development.

Amb Jumeau stressed the importance of this if SIDS are to successfully and sustainably manage and use their huge ocean territories under the post-2015 development agenda and to achieve the future Sustainable Development Goals.

The recommendations of all three EGMs will be sent to the preparatory meetings which the three SIDS regions are holding for the 2014 conference in Jamaica for the Caribbean in June this year and Fiji for the Pacific in July followed by Seychelles for AIMS later the same month.