Distinguished Cabinet Ministers,
Thank you very much for your kind hospitality and welcome. I am very much touched by your hospitality and warm welcome.
I only arrived in the Seychelles this afternoon, but it has already been a productive visit. I thank the Government and people of the Seychelles for the hospitality shown to me and to my delegation.
I have just held fruitful meetings with His Excellency President James Alix Michel and his cabinet members. I will not repeat what the President has just explained in details. I am confident that the leadership will continue to build on Seychelles’ record as a strong and vibrant democracy.
These islands are famous for their natural beauty. Earlier this afternoon, I visited the breathtaking Vallee de Mai Nature Reserve. I think that this is a common asset for the whole humanity and thank you for preserving all this very valuable treasure of humanity.
I am even more impressed by the Seychelles’ sense of responsibility in our world.
The problems we face as a planet – climate change, poverty and insecurity – will only be solved through a global, multilateral response. I thank the government and people of the Seychelles for their leadership on these issues, and particularly for your early ratification of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. You are one of the 16 countries who have ratified at such an early stage. I sincerely hope that you will exercise your political leadership to encourage many other countries to follow suit.
You and your peers have shown that small islands have big ideas and big political will.
The United Nations also appreciates Seychelles’ leadership on the problem of piracy as Chair of the Contact Group on piracy off the coast of Somalia - and I am encouraged that since 2013 no commercial shipping vessels have been kidnapped by pirates - this common solidarity and commitment on tackling transnational crime in the region, while respecting international norms and human rights.
I applaud Seychelles for working with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to ensure that suspects are given fair and efficient trials. Tomorrow I will be visiting a Coast Guard station and I look forward to hearing about approaches to maritime crime.
The Seychelles are highly vulnerable to storm surges, as we are reminded by the recent devastating effects of cyclone Fantala.
Preventing and preparing for natural disasters in partnership with local and national governments will be one focus of the World Humanitarian Summit that I am convening in Istanbul on 23rd and 24th May. I hope the Seychelles will bring its expertise to the table.
This is the first year of implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, the universal, integrated and transformative agenda to end poverty and need and build a more sustainable world on a healthy planet over the next 15 years.
The Seychelles is in an excellent position to build on its record of protecting the environment, creating sustainable livelihoods and increasing the use of renewable energy.
The United Nations stands ready to work with you for a better future on a cleaner planet.