Seychelles participates in United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA 6)

The Minister for Agriculture, Climate Change and Environment, Mr. Flavien Joubert is leading the Seychelles delegation at the sixth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA 6) which is taking place from the 26th February to 1st of March 2024 at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya.

UNEA is considered the world’s top decision-making body for the environment and was formed from the United Nations Governing council which only allowed the participation of 58 countries to the full participation of the 193 members states of the UN which also includes businesses, civil society and other stakeholders that are responsible for the implementation of the decisions of UNEA. The aim of UNEA is to help restore harmony between humanity and nature, improving the lives of the world’s most vulnerable people.

The theme for UNEA 6 is “effective, inclusive and sustainable multilateral actions to tackle climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution”. This theme interlinks with one of the key highlights of last year’s COP 28 of the Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) which recognized the need to upscale efforts to address climate change and biodiversity crisis alongside pollution.

As one of the member states, Seychelles, have and continue to make remarkable progress within the environmental sector whilst at the same time recognizing the impacts of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution. Therefore, the implementation of the strategic priorities of UNEP is of great importance. The Seychelles delegation is expected to support a number of key draft resolutions to be presented and debated during UNEA6.

UNEP/OECPR.6/L.20 on Ocean Governance. It is important to recognize the fact that as a country we have made significant progress on the protection of our EEZ. Seychelles support the call for parties to sign the Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ) agreement, and apply targets for marine conservation under the Convention of Biological Biodiversity (CBD). The Seychelles achievement in those areas highlights the significant progress that we continue to make in marine conservation. Having made advancement in the development of our Marine Spatial Plan, we are now geared towards its implementation. Protection of seagrasses and mangroves remain the country’s priority. Those items act as benchmark towards achieving targets set out in Environmental Multilateral Agreements (MEA’s).

The Government is also committed to support UNEP/OECPR.6/L.6: Strengthening International efforts to halt land degradation, restore degraded lands and increase ecosystem therefore, reversing deforestation and forest degradation by 2030’ in order to help and eliminate global emissions. Our priorities within the sector remains to finalize and approve the country’s first Forest Policy, address the issue of invasive species, finalize the Biodiversity Policy as well as review and update the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan to align with the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.

We acknowledge the fact that Seychelles being a Small Island Developing States (SIDS) with a special characteristic, continues to face the challenges of controlling pollution especially plastic pollution. We support the draft resolution UNEP/OECPR.6/L.1 on Sound Management of chemicals and waste. At the same time, we continue to make requests for more resources to be allocated in this particular area especially to SIDS and those countries with economies in transition. We are actively engaged in negotiation towards the development of a Legally binding Instrument on plastics including the marine environment with the main objective of ending plastic pollution by 2024. Other significant effort includes current activities currently undertaken as part of the project entitled “Implementing Sustainable Low and non-Chemical Development in SIDS” which looks at supporting key actions included in the National Implementation Plan on Persistent Organic Pollutants, and addressing recommendations taken up in the Mercury Initial Assessment report (2016).

The Seychelles Government is committed to continue and mobilize finance in order combat climate change by supporting UNEP/OECPR.6/L10-Development of criteria, norms standards and guidelines for nature-based solutions to support sustainable development. This is important during the implementation of projects or when future projects are considered under the 8th cycle of the GEF due late 2025. The updated National Determine Contribution highlights the need of financial assistance to implement mitigation and adaptation projects. It must be noted that the country made history in 2022 by contributing to the establishment of the Loss and Damage Fund. History has also been made on the operationalization of the Loss and Damage Fund on the first day of COP28, where UAE and Germany pledged USD100 million. In addition to that, we are actively engaged in decarbonizing our energy sector including implementing UNEP’s low carbon mobility led by the for the Department of transport.

UNEP/OECPR.6/L.14 on solar radiation modification. Seychelles shares the view of member states that the effect that stratospheric aerosol injection in modifying the climate and limiting global warming which comes with numerous risks and welcomes a precautionary approach to the issue and most importantly an increased effort to understand the implications of these interventions.

Other members of the Seychelles delegation at UNEA6 include the Principal Secretary for the Environment Department, Mr. Denis Matatiken and the Director General for Waste, Enforcement and Permits in the Environment Department, Mrs. Nanette Laure. During the week-long meeting, Minister Joubert is expected to deliver national statement at the High-Level Segment and other side events such as the Ministerial Meeting for the High Ambition Coalition on Plastic and the Ministerial meeting for the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People. The Minister is also expected to conduct an official visit to the Egerton University in Nakuru- Mau to discuss on possible cooperation and collaboration in the Agricultural Sector. Further information on the visit will be provided during the week.

The UNEA 6 meeting is preceded by the sixth meeting of the Open Committee of permanent representatives from 19 to 24th February which serves as the main preparatory meeting for the Assembly. The meeting is being attended by 6000 delegates including 7 Head of States and 139 Ministers as well as experts and industry representatives.

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