President Michel’s closing address to Comesa summit:-We must work for common solution to climate change


12-June-2009

President Michel (right) addressing the summit

In his closing address to the 13th summit of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa), he called for diligence on climate change, which may lead to a new food crisis as changing weather patterns and warmer and rising seas affect agriculture and fishing.
 
“Climate change has the potential to trigger a food crisis on an unprecedented scale. We depend on each other. We must find a common solution together,” he said.

“Comesa must pursue vigorously its climate change initiative while taking into account the serious threat it poses to the livelihood and resilience of Small Island Developing States.”

Mr Michel also noted at the meeting in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, that Comesa has made great strides in promoting trade and investment among the countries of the region, the launch of its Customs Union being the latest initiative to boost regional trade ties.

But enhanced regional trade depends heavily on safe sea lanes in the Indian Ocean, he added.
“We cannot effectively talk about food security and increasing maritime links without dealing with the problem of piracy,” he said in his address.

Throughout the meetings leading up to the summit, Seychelles and Mauritius have adopted a joint approach, calling on Comesa to take an active role in identifying resources that can be used to tackle the scourge of piracy (see separate story).
 
And the President has highlighted the need for a long-term approach focusing on finding ways to ensure peace and stability within Somalia and a medium-term approach that prioritises resources available for surveillance and prevention of pirate attacks.

His attendance at the summit marks a first for a Seychellois head of state. Following the visit here last month by Comesa secretary-general Sindiso Ngwenya for the Seychelles Forum, it also marks Seychelles’ move towards increased integration into regional and world economies.

“The reforms we have undertaken last year have made our economy more resilient and more dynamic,” said Mr Michel at the end of the summit.

“As we tackle the challenges of this reform we should also be aware of the opportunities that exist with regional partners in the context of Comesa, the Southern African Development Community or our Indian Ocean Commission.”
 

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