Seychelles speaks out on key multilateral development issues in Brussels at ACP Ministerial Meeting
Secretary of State for the Department of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Barry Faure, representing Foreign Minister Joël Morgan at the African Caribbean and Pacific Group and ACP-EU ministerial meetings in Brussels, spoke out on a number of key multilateral development issues on the international agenda.
The issues of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), Climate Change, the Blue Economy and the Debt-Adaptation Swap were some of the subjects addressed in preparation for the Third International Development Conference in Addis in July, the Post 2015 Sustainable Development Agenda in New York in September and the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Paris in December.
Seychelles joined the chorus of voices emphasising the need to give special attention to SIDS in calling for an integrated and more prosperous Post-2015 International Agenda for Development. Ambassador Faure highlighted reiterated key issues raised by President Michel during the 3rd Conference on SIDS in Samoa in September 2014. He appealed for the inclusion of the Vulnerability and Resilience Index and the Blue Economy in the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda.
In calling for an ambitious and legally binding global agreement limiting the rise in global temperature to less than two degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels, Ambassador Faure reminded the ACP-EU Council of President Michel’s words in Samoa, that climate change was “a collective crime against humanity” and had to be a number one priority for the world community. He called for the richer nations, the greatest polluters, to materialise their pledges for funding for climate change mitigation and adaptation.
Ambassador Faure also shared Seychelles’ experience vis-á-vis its milestone accomplishment on the signing of the Debt-for-nature Swap Agreement earlier this year; in which a portion of the country’s debt is forgiven in exchange for a commitment for investment in domestic environmental conservation. “This debt swap mechanism is a great example of Public Private Partnership approach for financing our development which should be positively considered as a form of innovative financing and promoted in the 3rd Conference on International Development Financing and the Post-2015 Development Agenda opined Ambassador Faure.”
Speaking on other issues, the Secretary of State also acknowledged the importance of the ACP Intra-ACP Strategy Paper for the 11th European Development Fund (EDF), but called for the ACP Group to ensure that key areas such as the Blue Economy, Fisheries and Agriculture benefit from such funds.
Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA) was another item on the agenda for discussion and Seychelles again showed its determination to ensure that negotiations for a comprehensive EPA in the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) region, dormant for far too long, largely due to the lack of a critical mass of goods market access offers from ESA states, are relaunched with the EU.
Finally, on fisheries, whilst recognising the renewed attention that the ACP Secretariat had given to recruiting a Fisheries Expert, Ambassador Faure called for the July 2015 ACP Fisheries Ministers meeting in Namibia, to address the concerns of ACP states. He cited as example the maximum limits for contaminants by the EU Codex Alimentarius Committee, which in the case of mercury in swordfish needs to be reviewed as it could potentially threaten fish exports to the EU which could be a hindrance to the local semi-industrial fisheries.
Also in attendance of the meetings was Seychelles Ambassador in Brussels, Ambassador Selby Pillay.