From: The Seychelles Nation
‘All peoples must pressure their leaders for action on climate change’
President James Michel has called on all nations of the world to take more responsibility for the actions needed to slow down climate change, as well as urging the peoples of those nations to put pressure on their governments to ensure their pledges turn into reality.
President Michel was speaking at the Leadership Panel of the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit (DSDS) 2012, alongside the President of Finland, Tarja Halonen, and the President of Kiribati, Anote Tong.
“Our focus should not just be on words but on actions. It is 20 years since the Rio summit, during that time we made a lot of statements. We have spoken about sustainable agriculture, sustainable tourism, sustainable financing and so on, but 20 years later we find that we have many unfulfilled pledges and non-binding agreements to accompany them…. We have seen the meetings of the G7, G20, G77, but what about the G193? …where all the nations of the world get together and our concerns are taken into account?.... The people need to put pressure on their governments to do something about climate change and a binding agreement for this,” said President Michel.
The President said that all nations, the “G193”, should have an equal say in the matters of the global environment, as we live in a global village where we share the same concerns for the future of the planet. He spoke of the struggles of small island states, in the face of sea-level rise, droughts, erosion and coral bleaching, which have affected the populations of island nations like Seychelles and Kiribati.
“It is a question of survival for us…. The relative lack of action of the last 20 years signifies that the cry of those that are the most vulnerable have not been heard...We need a legally binding agreement to limit carbon emissions. The time has come for everybody to develop the political will, a strong political will, for us as humanity, to get together and see how we can seriously tackle this problem and save our only home, our planet.... We need to do this soon as we are running out of time,” said the President.
The President also spoke of the need for leaders to take political risks in order to introduce sustainable plans for energy production, as the long-term benefits for humanity outweigh the immediate risks in loss of popularity.
During the summit, President Michel also met the Prime Minister of India, Dr Manmohan Singh, who inaugurated the DSDS 2012.
Also present at the summit were the former President of Botswana, Festus Mogae, the former President of Guyana, Bharrat Jagdeo, and the former Prime Minister of Norway Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland.
President Michel is accompanied on this working visit to India by the Minister for Foreign Affairs Jean- Paul Adam, Ambassador Waven William, and the vice-chancellor of the University of Seychelles, Dr Rolph Payet.
This is the second time the President addresses the DSDS.