Seychelles’ President tells UN General Assembly: Leave no one behind

The President of Seychelles, Wavel Ramkalawan, highlighted in a virtual address on Thursday the need for leaders attending the 76th United Nations General Assembly to reflect on how to address pressing issues amid the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Ramkalawan listed the pressing issues as effective and equitable access to health care, glaring inequalities, climate change and environmental degradation, the arms race, endless conflicts, and the plight of refugees.
“As we enter the second year of the UN decade of action, it is imperative that we, as a community of nations, take deliberate, collaborative and decisive actions to guarantee a future that leaves no one behind,” he said.
“In recalling our commitments to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and related treaties, let us remind ourselves that the most vulnerable people — those living in dire conditions and facing seemingly insurmountable crises — require special attention and help,” Ramkalawan added.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ramkalawan was among some of the other heads of states and government who provided pre-recorded statements for the General Assembly being held at the United Nations headquarters in New York. 
The theme for the 76th session is “Building Resilience through hope to recover from COVID-19, rebuild sustainably, respond to the needs of the planet, respect the rights of people, and revitalise the United Nations.”  

President of Seychelles address in the general debate. (State House) Photo License: CC-BY

Ramkalawan called for urgent attention to be given to the most vulnerable countries in the midst of the global pandemic with particular reference to the Small Island Developing State (SIDS).
He said that “while the pandemic has brought about untold suffering, devastated global health systems, severely impacted the world economy and impoverished entire communities, the crisis at hand presents an opportunity to reinvigorate our collective will to bring about positive changes, with emphasis on equitable, sustainable, and inclusive governance,”
Ramkalawan took the opportunity to talk about how Seychelles has also been affected by the pandemic, especially the tourism industry. He appealed to member states to take into consideration the plights of those facing threats of an existential nature, most notably small islands.
“Our vulnerabilities are well known and they need not be expounded on here. What needs to be stressed, however, is that a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to debt relief and concessionary financial flows is certainly not the most appropriate for us. An approach and a strategy which take into account our vulnerabilities and characteristics would bolster our own efforts to weather the present crisis and to strengthen our capabilities to recover and rebound from the economic fallout caused by the pandemic,” he added.
The head of state also highlighted the impact of climate change and called on world leaders to take decisive action to protect the planet for future generations.
“Never have we, as a community of nations, been beset with challenges of the present magnitude. But there is hope, hope that we can overcome them. There is hope that we can overcome the challenges that we face through collective action, global solidarity and with political will,” he concluded.

Source: Seychelles News Agency