Press release

Small Islands Developing States at the heart of discussion with the UNECA

April 13, 2013

Ambassador Joseph Nourrice, the Resident Ambassador to the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and Permanent Representative to the AU, has presented his credentials to Dr Carlos Lopes, the UN Under Secretary- General and Executive Director of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa in a ceremony on the 11th March.

During their meeting Amb. Nourrice conveyed the greetings of President James Michel to Dr Lopes, and commended him for the work being undertaken by the UNECA for the development of Africa.

Amb. Nourrice also expressed the gratitude and appreciation of the Government and People of Seychelles for the assistance provided by the organization, particularly in the areas of training to personnel for the National Bureau of Statistics, the African Governance Report 111, and Social Development and Sport amongst others.

The discussion focused on the many challenges facing the African continent in general and in particular those relating to Small Island Developing States and their specificities.

Ambassador Nourrice noted that the specificities of SIDS are very complex and often overlooked in mainstream development, and urged that more attention should be given to address their broader development context.

Amongst the areas discussed were the need to tackle key issues relating to the Millennium Development Goals and the need to provide the space for sustainable development and resilient economies; Climate change and in particular the pressing need to speed up funding earmarked for climate change adaptation which remain a challenge when noting that SIDS are often marginalized in view of the high GDP per capita; and the slowness in making available support under the green fund was also discussed as a growing concern.

The Mauritius Strategy 2010 and outcomes of the Rio+ 20 Summit which recognized the need to increase support to SIDS and the importance of the blue economy respectively is a very encouraging step in the right direction remarked Ambassador Nourrice.

Ambassador Nourrice further observed that while the Seychelles economic reform programme remains on track, piracy has been having a detrimental impact on development as a sizeable part of the GDP is diverted to fight piracy, a situation which is unsustainable in the longer term.

While commending the efforts of the international community for the contribution towards the fight against piracy, Ambassador Nourrice called for more assistance especially to countries like Seychelles at the forefront of this fight.

Amb. Nourrice also briefed Dr. Lopes on the recent establishment of the Regional Anti-Piracy Prosecuting Intelligence Centre (RAPPIC) as an effort to strengthen the capacity in the region.

Other issues discussed were peace and security and particularly positive development in the Indian Ocean region. It was noted that Madagascar was on track towards constitutionality and there was a pressing need for the international community to lend support to that process.

The Executive Director welcomed the decision of the President to set up the Embassy of Seychelles in Addis Ababa which he noted as a way strengthening the relations between Seychelles and the UNECA and greater diplomatic community in Africa, while at the same time commending the leadership role that Seychelles has played and continues to play in areas like environment protection, social and human development and the fight against piracy.

The Executive Director concluded by pledging all the support that the UNECA can give to Seychelles would be duly considered.