President of Seychelles at COP26: World must forge environmental pact
An environment partnership to save planet earth must be forged during the global meeting COP26, the President of Seychelles told other heads of state at the World Leaders Summit in Glasgow, Scotland.
“I stand before you fellow leaders of our nations, thus of our planet, neither as a scientist nor as an environmental expert, but as a citizen of our beautiful planet, and more specifically as an island boy facing reality,” said Wavel Ramkalawan in his address on Monday.
Ramkalawan said that what he experiences in the beautiful islands of Seychelles — which most visitors describe as paradise — is the destruction of its environment and livelihood.
“This, I am sure, is what we all see in the various parts of the world we come from. Be it flooding, forest fires, extreme temperatures, delayed rainy seasons, coastal erosion, destruction of wildlife, cutting down of forests, fewer and smaller fish and many more. These, unfortunately, are all part of the destruction process of planet earth and the self-imposed eventual extinction of the planet’s most intelligent species, the human being,” he added.
The head of state said that Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean, is a victim as are other Small Island Developing States and called on fellow leaders to act immediately.
“May the industrialised nations understand that they cannot continue polluting without reserve, may those who exploit without thinking of tomorrow stop, may the corrupt poachers of our planet change their ways and may we realise that in this battle to save our planet, we are not in the proverbial same boat, but that we are indeed in the same boat, big, small, rich or poor,” he said.
Ramkalawan said that for COVID, the world came together and developed the vaccine, “for the protection of our planet, the only vaccine is our sincere commitment and concrete actions. In other words, we have to be honest and action oriented.”
He called on rich nations to look at the less fortunate ones as equal partners and to put an end to the expression ‘high income earning’ in order to accept a vulnerability index.
“Seychelles is considered high income, but overnight it lost 75 percent of its tourism industry due to COVID-19 and the world stopped for her people. That’s vulnerability.
“Can we, the ones who are less responsible for the planet’s destruction, but who on the contrary are doing our utmost, like preserving our limited landmass or EEZ, be helped generously when we are protecting our coastlines, preserving our disappearing islands, managing seagrass meadows larger than Switzerland or fighting IUU fishing activities?” he asked.
“We have one mission today: To save our planet. In order to accomplish the task, we have to come together and act immediately. The partnership is for yesterday. Tomorrow is not an option, for it will be too late,” said Ramkalawan.