Mr Simon Springett; United Nations Resident Coordinator and Resident Representative
For the United Nations Development Programme,
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen
In 2013, Seychelles has been ranked for the first time in the UNDP Human Development Index (HDI) ‘very high human development’ section.
This achievement is situated within our drive to not only achieve the Millennium Development Goals- but to exceed them- and provide the best platform possible for development of our people.
This achievement is also situated against the backdrop of the most challenging of international development environments for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) such as Seychelles.
As we join together today to launch our 3rd edition of our national report on the MDGs, we reflect on what has allowed us to progress, while we also seek to improve our resilience and strengthen our capacity to continue moving forward.
We are also looking ahead to the post 2015 development agenda.
While SIDS are often placed in the roles of bystanders in terms of global governance- it is clear that sustainable development is not feasible without addressing the development concerns of islands.
We are at the front line of climate change. We are the first to feel the effects of international financial turbulence. We are at the mercy of global fluctuations in energy and commodity prices.
But in terms of sustainable development- Seychelles has expressed its determination to be at the forefront of the policy changes that are required to achieve sustainability.
The MDGs have mobilised an unprecedented effort at the global level to place measurable development achievements as means of enhancing progress at the national level of all UN member states.
The success of the MDGs is testament to the improved engagement in so many countries around the world to make a difference in the lives of their people.
With the sustainable development goals we must now mark the moment that we further transform this responsibility at the national level into a collective commitment to global responsibility for our actions as humanity.
The SDGs process provide the platform from which SIDS such as Seychelles seize to be bystanders. In terms of sustainability, we must be the trailblazers. We must set the path. We must use our national responsibility to mobilise a new sense of collective responsibility.
Our MDG report underlines the need to have a convergence of the MDGs with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) process and we further propose 11 possible goals that are reflective of our concerns in the last chapter of the report.
A few of the key areas that we feel need particular emphasis are the provision of quality education for sustainability; and the provision of sustainable energy for all and the development of an inclusive green and blue economy, with a direct focus on the importance of oceans.
Few issues encapsulate sustainability as comprehensively as the concept of the blue economy. To successfully manage our oceanic spaces- we must be able to develop enhanced means to share resources and experiences.
Through the SDGs, we must transform our Small Island States into Large Ocean Nations.
Seychelles’ own experiences in recent years have illustrated how we have been faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges- but we have managed to overcome them through our flexibility, our ability to act fast and decisively and our unity as nation.
It is clear also, that the problems we are faced with are indelibly linked to the situation faced by humanity as whole. The SDGs will thus further emphasise as to how we can succeed together, or fail together.
Ladies and gentlemen,
In relation to the challenges flagged in our report, we are emphasising the need for improved data gathering and dissemination, the need for improved capacity to undertake sustained monitoring over time, the need to continuously invest in and upgrade the country’s limited pool of qualified and experienced professionals to address human development in terms of sustainable development.
I am pleased that we are acting decisively with the support of UNDP and other partners to address many of these challenges, including through a forthcoming mission from 5th-7th November to assist in reinforcing the capacity of our National Statistics Bureau.
Excellences, Mesdames et Messieurs,
Le développement durable n’est pas le parcours d’un pays qui adoptera des objectifs nationaux. Il se situe dans un contexte de leadership et de détermination à l’échelle régionale et globale.
Je suis convaincu que nous avons dans notre région actuellement un leadership et une responsabilité partagée à franchir une nouvelle étape dans le développement durable.
L’accord historique de partage de gestion du plateau continental avec l’Ile Maurice est un exemple tangible. La mobilisation de nos voisins réunionnais à partager leurs expériences et leurs compétences dans le domaine de l’énergie renouvelable en est un autre.
Les Seychelles réitèrent aujourd’hui son engagement à renforcer les partenariats de développement durable autour de notre organisation de proximité, la Commission de l’Océan Indien, et à les conforter par des échanges commerciaux libres et durables dans un espace encore plus large qu’offrent la SADC et le COMESA.
Ladies and gentlemen,
As we launch this 3rd edition of this report, I am also particularly proud to congratulate its Seychellois authors- Mr. Benjamin Vel and Mrs. Marie-Therese Purvis who is currently in Madagascar observing the electoral process underway there.
Their efforts reflected in this report are testament, despite our evident constraints, to the quality of our human capital.
This report is further investment in this capital and I commend their efforts refelected within its pages. I also make special mention to the MDGs steering committee that have contributed once again to the production of this report.
Finally, I also take the opportunity to thank the United Nations Development Programme, and in particular Mr. Simon Springett and Seychelles’ own Roland Alcindor. As we continue to work together to improve Seychelles’ capacity- you have demonstrated the dexterity necessary to adapt the UN machinery to Seychelles’ specific needs.
It is therefore with great pleasure that we mark today’s event with the official launching of the 2013 Seychelles National Millennium Development Goals Report.
I thank you