President Ramkalawan takes part in virtual leaders' dialogue on the African Covid-Climate Emergency |07 April 2021
‘Climate change stays the biggest long-term threat’
President Wavel Ramkalawan has said that the Covid-19 pandemic may be the most significant and pressing challenge facing humanity right now, but climate change remains the biggest long-term threat.
“The adverse impacts of climate change is deeply felt in island nations like ours, where sea level rise, coastal erosions, coral bleaching and even the disappearance of some of our islands, among 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 President Ramkalawan.
The head of State spoke last night at State House, during a virtual leaders' dialogue on the African Covid-Climate Emergency organised by the Global Centre on Adaptation (GCA) and the African Development Bank (AfDB). It is also being organised in close collaboration with the United Nations, and brings together African heads of States and governments, bilateral partners, heads of international organisations and development agencies.
President Ramkalawan noted that the combination of Covid-19 and climate impacts have severely devastated our economies.
“Countries around the world have collectively allocated over US $20 trillion in Covid stimulus packages, thereby reducing the resources available to combat climate change. Climate change cannot wait while we address Covid-19. They must be addressed together and demands an urgent response,” he said.
The president added that in Seychelles, the government is committed to building a climate smart resilient country to enable transformation in all aspects. He noted that “our critical infrastructure, food security, coastal and marine resources and water security are among 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.”
President Ramkalawan emphasised that Seychelles has deployed significant financial resources to scale up adaptation efforts and mainstreamed adaptation into our national development strategy.
“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 exclusive economic zone (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 allocating US $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.
He added that he is pleased to note that the AAAP has already identified projects that will be of benefit to 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 has also called on development partners to urgently allocate more resources to adaptation in Africa in general and to the AAAP, adding that the Covid-19 Stimulus packages should not deprive African countries of the resources needed for climate change.
“Climate change should be mainstreamed into stimulus packages to help us to build forward better, greener and safer,” he noted.
“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,” concluded President Ramkalawan.
Compiled by Gerard Govinden