Seychelles represented at Uneca meetings


17-November-2011

The conference was held recently at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (Uneca) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and the Seychelles delegation comprised Conrad Mederic, principal counsellor of the Seychelles High Commission in Pretoria, and Nadine Lucas, research officer in the Ministry of Social Development and Culture.

Jointly organised by the Uneca, the African Development Bank and the African Union Commission, the conference was attended by most African countries, regional organisations and non-governmental organisations.

It was officially opened by Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, H.E. Meles Zenawi, while the President of the Republic of Congo Denis Sassou Nguesso acted as chairperson of the African Bureau in preparation for the Rio +20. Mr Nguesso also delivered the key note speech.

The conference adopted the Africa consensus statement to Rio +20, which has been presented to the Rio +20 organising committee and the resolution will be presented to the African Union summit in January 2012.

Some of the major issues highlighted and which are pertinent to Seychelles include new and emerging challenges such as climate change, increasing water scarcity, biodiversity and ecosystem loss, desertification, hazardous and electronic waste, low resilience to natural disasters, energy crisis, food crisis, rapid urban development, piracy, human trafficking, migration and global financial and economic crisis.
 
As a result of these challenges, there is an increase in new diseases, worsening of poverty and unemployment, especially among the youth.

There is also the issue of the green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication. The combined stream of economic, social and environmental crises that have plagued the global economy in recent years points to a need to reorient the current development models towards a more efficient, inclusive and sustainable economy by enhancing the resource efficiency of national economies and decoupling economic activity from environmental degradation. In this context, it is recognised that the transition to a green economy could offer new opportunities for advancing the achievement of Africa’s sustainable development objectives through economic growth, employment creation, and poverty reduction in accordance with the principles and recommendation of the 1992 Rio summit and the 2002 world summit on sustainable development.

During the plenary session, the Seychelles delegation intervened and referred to the outcome document of the AIMS meeting held in Seychelles in July 2011. Of particular relevance were the issues affecting Small Island Developing States such as climate change, and the challenge of piracy and its effects on fishing, tourism and trade. Those are included in the final report of the conference.

Prior to these two meetings, Ms Lucas also attended the African regional dialogue on migration and the second session of the committee on human and social development.

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