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UN agencies responsible for Seychelles organise annual retreat here |20 May 2022

UN agencies responsible for Seychelles organise annual retreat here

Delegates in a souvenir photograph

The heads and other key officials of the different United Nations agencies that cover Seychelles and Mauritius are holding their retreat in Seychelles from May 18 to 20.

The aim of the gathering is to bring the heads and other key officials of the different United Nations agencies together to explore ways to further strengthen partnerships and identify opportunities for new collaboration.

During the first day of the United Nations Country Team (UNCT) retreat that took place at the Hilton Double Tree Allamanda Hotel, Anse Forbans on Wednesday, the officials met with some representatives of their key local partners in Seychelles. Also present were the principal secretary for economic planning, Elisabeth Agathine.

The first day of discussions was led by the UN resident coordinator for Mauritius and Seychelles, Christine N. Umutoni.

The UNCT annually organises a retreat that focuses on different issues, however due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2020 retreat was postponed and the UNCT focused its effort on crisis response and designing the Covid-19 socio-economic response plans.

For the year 2021 the UNCT held a virtual retreat focusing on the resilience, inclusive and green recovery to move towards the 2030 agenda. For this year it is concentrating on promoting the sustainable development goals (SDGs).

“We are here discussing about our partnership with both the Seychelles and Mauritius governments,” Ms Umutoni said.

The UNCT 2022 retreat aims to build on the work carried out over in the years and experiences learnt during the response of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Small Islands Developing States (Sids) affected by Covid-19 and other crisis have had their specific vulnerabilities underlined which include high exposure to climate hazards, narrow economic base and dependency on imported food and energy. The two countries, Seychelles and Mauritius classified as upper middle and high income nations, will not access the same development financing as low income countries. The UNCT acknowledged that this is a challenge that requires innovative thinking on how to finance their SDG ambitions and climate change adaptation.

PS Agathine stated that Seychelles has faced many challenges over the two years of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The government has looked at what its priorities are going to be and we have identified six priorities and these are a modern public service, transformative economic agenda, sustainability and climate change resilience, promotion of law and order, modernisation and an efficient health system as well as a modern education system aligned with the country’s future needs,” she said.

“We do realise that tourism will remain one of the key sectors in Seychelles and despite all the challenges around it, it has proved to be very resilient and the resiliency has been in trying to diversify first our market but also trying to look at the products that we offer and see how to bring about more of that cultural element in the tourism sector. The idea of transforming our economy rather than diversifying because as a country we don’t have much to diversify in,” said PS Agathine.

The retreat is taking place during the fourth year of the UN reform against the backdrop of the pandemic. Both Mauritius and Seychelles have dealt with managing the health crisis and implementing multi-sector response and recovery plans. The UNCT retreat will aid in recovery and refocusing on long-term planning taking into account the experiences learnt during the pandemic.


Marla Simeon

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