WAVEL RAMKALAWAN, President of Seychelles, said that the past two years have been a stark reminder of the global community’s failure to address the pressing issues of the times. Going into the second year of the Decade of Action to implement the Sustainable Development Goals, the world must act to guarantee a future that leaves no one behind. The pandemic brought about untold suffering, but it is also an opportunity to reinvigorate a collective will to bring about positive change, with an emphasis on equitable, sustainable and inclusive governance.
It is a disgrace that only 16 per cent of the 554 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines promised to the global South by the world’s richest nations have been delivered, he said, adding that so far, less than 3.5 per cent of people in Africa have been vaccinated. The COVAX facility, striving as it is doing against the odds, can fulfil its mandate only if the richest countries honour their pledges and commitments rather than using them as short-term leverage in one way or another.
Efforts to combat the pandemic must address economic imbalances and inequalities, he added, urging the international community to help the world’s most vulnerable economies to strengthen their resilience against future shocks. Noting that Seychelles’ economy, like that of many other small island developing States, was brought to its knees after the pandemic hit, he said that Member States must build consensus and cohesion with respect to those facing existential threats. The vulnerabilities of small island developing States are well-known, but a one-size-fits-all approach to debt relief and concessionary financing is not the right way forward. For those countries, applying a vulnerability index is the only viable way to resolve their predicament, he said.
Most small island developing States have achieved middle- or high-income status through hard work and a commitment to better the lives of their people, but it appears they are penalized for their success, he said, asking if international financial institutions are taking their vulnerabilities into account. Small island developing States also continue to be disproportionately affected by what can best be called environmental injustice. Pledges and commitments must be respected and honoured.
In light of the upcoming Glasgow climate conference, he called on the international community, particularly the larger emitters and the Group of 20 economies, to increase their national determined contributions to a level that meets or surpasses the requirements of the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and averts a global catastrophe. He went on to call for the international community to restore hope and belief in the United Nations and to rebuild trust among nations in order to reduce inequalities; eradicate racism, xenophobia and other forms of discrimination; and instil purpose among peoples.
Read the full statement, in PDF format.
Access the statements from previous sessions.