Seychelles President Wavel Ramkalawan addressed participants at the Leader’s Dialogue on the Africa COVID-Climate Emergency, virtually yesterday evening at State House. The meeting was organised by the African Development Bank and Global Centre of Adaptation (GCA), in close collaboration with the United Nations. It has brought together African Heads of States and Governments, bilateral partners, heads of international organisations and development agencies.
In his address, the President acknowledged the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in a range of spheres but highlighted the fact that climate change remains a long-term threat. He called on everyone to continue the fight against climate change.
“The adverse impacts of climate change is deeply felt in island nations like ours, where sea levels rise, coastal erosions, coral bleaching and even the disappearance of some of our islands, amongst others, are a real threat to livelihood. As we respond to the threats of COVID for urgent and immediate action, we cannot forget the multiple systemic shocks that are now threatening African communities at the same time: a health crisis, a food security crisis and an economic crisis, all compounded by the climate crisis.”
“Africa is facing a lot of challenges, but though the continent is being battered, we have to remain conscious of our contribution in combating climate change. It is our solidarity and commitment that will bring global success,” said the President.
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President Ramkalawan also referred to the $20 trillion in COVID stimulus packages allocated to different countries which has reduced the availability of resources to fight climate change. Furthermore, how Seychelles government is committed to having a transformation in all aspects by promoting a climate-resilient country.
“Climate change cannot wait while we address COVID19. They must be addressed together and demands an urgent response. In Seychelles, the Government is committed to building a climate smart resilient country to enable transformation in all aspects; Our critical infrastructure, food security, coastal and marine resources and water security are amongst the most vulnerable to climate change impacts. The critical need to enhance knowledge and understanding of climate impacts. Vulnerabilities and adaptation solutions, together with sufficient financial support, this is a key blockage to achieving the needed resilience in the country,” urged the President.
In relation to the national development strategy, President Ramkalawan noted that Seychelles has deployed significant financial resources to scale up adaptation efforts and mainstreamed adaptation.
“We have aligned this strategy with future expected impacts of climate change. We have aligned this strategy with future expected impacts of climate change. Protecting the environment through needed sacrifice has seen us put aside 30% of our EEZ and 50% of our already limited landmass to nature protection. And we are committed to doing more as we lead by example. In this context, I commend the African Development Bank for its commitment to allocate $25 billion to climate change between 2020 and 2025.
“I welcome and commend the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program (AAAP) to scale up and accelerate adaptation in Africa. Such programmes act as beacons of hope for humanity, especially for our dear mother Africa,” said the President.
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He also informed on the different projects identified by AAAP that will benefit Seychelles, such as the; “development of a toolkit for the design and implementation of Climate Smart Digital Technologies for Agriculture, including last-mile capacity building material for farmers, that will be critical to support the government of Seychelles to adapt its agricultural producers to climate risks,”
“Secondly, the development of a Massive Online Open Course on adaptation and climate change that will be able to support Seychelles’ youth to design and implement adaptation solutions and take part in the country’s adaptation efforts”.
The President urged for the development partners to urgently allocate more resources to adaptation in Africa in general and to the AAAP, noting that the COVID 19 Stimulus packages should not deprive African countries of the resources needed for climate change.
He concluded, “Strengthening Africa and SIDS’ resilience to climate change can provide major opportunities. If this cannot be done as a continent, we will fail to do so as the world. Let us all come together as it is our mission to protect the planet for our future generations. Let us do the absolute through global solidarity. It is no longer about me, myself and I, but about us as a global community.”