Seychelles’ ministers and a United Nations Country Team (UNCT) discussed issues of priorities in the various sectors of the government in a multi-sector policy dialogue on Thursday.
The dialogue is part of a UNCT strategic retreat taking place in Seychelles from May 18-20.
It covered five key thematic areas; transformative economy, environment, sustainability and climate change, human rights, law and order, health and social affairs, and education and culture.
Seychelles’ Minister for Foreign Affairs and Tourism, Sylvestre Radegonde, said that “as a Small Island Developing State, Seychelles must keep pace with new emerging requirements, crisis and global threats.”
Radegonde, who was leading the talks for the island nation, said that “of particular concern for us is climate change. This issue takes on added urgency against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine.”
The minister also outlined a Multi-dimensional Vulnerability Index (MVI) as another point of vital importance for the country. He added that Seychelles has and will always remain a strong advocate for the MVI, which encompasses indicators that are relevant to the unique vulnerabilities of Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
Radegonde said that “this is critical in order to allow a fair evaluation of support to be provided to us and access to concessionary financing. Too often we lose out on valuable opportunities because of our supposedly high-income status and this needs to change now more than ever.”
Progress in this area is being made, as an MVI specific to SIDS is being developed under the purview of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) mandated by the Secretary General of the United Nations.
The dialogue is part of a UNCT strategic retreat taking place in Seychelles from May 18-20. (Seychelles Nation) Photo License: CC-BY
The UN Regional Coordinator, Christine Umutoni, said that this engagement “will allow us to hear from Seychelles as the UN thinks of a new cooperation framework to understand the challenges the country faces.”
She said that in this strategic dialogue “we hope that the UN we benefit from hearing from the highest authorities and that our assessment of the situation will be done collaboratively and that we will be given a clear vision. As the UN, we are supposed to accompany national priorities.”
The policy dialogue between the government and the UN will allow the government to engage with the UN country team to indicate Seychelles’ priorities to develop the next Strategic Partnership Framework (SPF) in line with the National Development Strategies (NDS).
This will be done through the UN Resident Coordinator’s office that opened in the island nation in November last year.
Seychelles is preparing for its next Nation Development Strategy, one that will help the country move beyond the COVID-19 pandemic recovery phase and more towards building up resilience for the future.
The development strategy will be the primary guide in preparing the next strategic partnership framework between the UN and Seychelles.
“It is our hope that the next SPF caters for external shocks like the COVID-19 pandemic and makes provision for a backup system in the event that the country faces another socio-economic crisis,” said Radegonde.