Monday, October 31, 2011

Achieving sustainable development for small islands

Seychelles President James Michel has said that Commonwealth leaders have recognized the inherent vulnerabilities of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and their need for specific developmental mechanisms to address core challenges such as food security and climate change.

The President attended the Executive Retreat of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting this morning.
“As we approach Rio 2012, it is a simple truth that SIDS are more in debt, more vulnerable, and with less finance than in 1992. Sustainable development is still a dream. If we cannot sustain islands, if we cannot achieve sustainable development in these societies that are simply microcosms of our global society, then we may as well agree that sustainable development is not possible,” said President Michel following the meeting.

President Michel said that islands can be the true laboratories for sustainable development and urged other leaders to consider green economy and blue economy projects to be targeted in SIDS. He also emphasized the need for climate change mitigation to be a priority for future consideration. More

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Seychelles featured in prominent Business Beijing Magazine

The Seychelles Ambassador accredited to China, HE Mr. Philippe Le Gall, has been prominently featured in the latest issue of the highly popular and respected Business Beijing Magazine.

The four-page article shows a portrait of Ambassador Le Gall holding the island’s unique “coco de mer” nut. The article says that Ambassador Le Gall of the Seychelles brings a unique point of view to Sino-African relations. “Representing a small African country, but also a country active in the Small Island Developing States movement, Le Gall is also accredited to Japan, the Philippines, the Koreas, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Cambodia. Much of his effort is spent promoting tourism to the Seychelles, but the country’s political importance should not be underestimated,” said Charles J. Dukes in his feature article in Business Beijing Magazine.

Ambassador Philippe Le Gall is not shy to say in his interview, “This year we opened a tourism office in our embassy, and a Seychellois tourism attaché has been appointed.” The Business Beijing Magazine says that this shows clearly the commitment of the Seychelles Ambassador to China for the economy of his country. More

Thursday, October 27, 2011

That sinking feeling

Is Australia playing big brother to Pacific nations, or the school-yard bully?

As the leaders of Commonwealth nations prepare to meet in Perth this week, The Conversation is examining the role of the biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM) Meeting.

In our second piece, Keely Boom and Aleta Lederwasch from the University of Technology ask whether CHOGM’s smaller nation members’ concerns about climate change will be drowned out.

Climate change promises to be a hot topic at this year’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Perth, Australia.

The biennial gathering brings together the heads of government of all 54 Commonwealth countries.

CHOGM 2011 will be the largest gathering of world leaders everhosted by Australia. Prime Minister Julia Gillard will chair the event. More >>>

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Expert group meeting: Addressing the vulnerabilities of small island developing States more effectively

Date: 5–6 December 2011

Description: The expert group meeting is an opportunity for UNCTAD and the Indian Ocean Commission to contribute to enriching the international debate on possible steps and measures, within and outside the UN system, to support the resilience-building efforts of small island developing States (SIDS) more effectively.

 Concrete avenues for a possible special treatment of SIDS in the framework of international cooperation will be explored. Vulnerability problems have often been identified and described, but rarely answered in terms of international support on grounds of SIDS status. A set of recommendations is expected to result from the meeting, and will be brought to the attention of the preparatory committee for UNCTAD XIII, toward possible further UNCTAD action to alleviate the vulnerabilities of SIDS. The meeting, which will bring together about 12 presenters and an audience of relevant national, regional and international officials, is organized around four sessions, with a sequencing of issues involving three principal questions: Is vulnerability an obstacle to structural progress for SIDS? Could special international support measures for SIDS make resilience-building efforts more effective? What steps could the UN system be enticed to take to make the SIDS agenda an avenue for addressing vulnerability more effectively?

 Co-organized with: UNCTAD and the Indian Ocean Commission
 Language(s): English, French
Contact: Mr. Pierre Encontre Chief, Special Programmes Section Division for Africa, Least Developed Countries and Special Programmes UNCTAD


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Facing droughts, Pacific islands need urgent risk mitigation steps, UN warns

10 October 2011 – Amid growing concerns about drought crises in some small island States of the Pacific, the United Nations today called for comprehensive risk reduction steps to be put in place to protect vulnerable populations living in delicate ecosystems. “It really is time to assist Tuvalu and Tokelau to increase storage capacities and manage their resources sustainably, including more effective warnings for drier spells,” UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) head of policy John Harding said, referring to two of the region’s island States and territories. “With climate change predictions pointing to more acute La Niñas in the futures, plans must also include assistance for communities that will be displaced if existing freshwater is not sufficient,” he added, referring to the weather pattern characterized by unusually cool ocean temperatures in the central and eastern tropical Pacific that can bring abnormal conditions to widely separate areas of the world, from floods to droughts to below- or above-normal temperatures. On the positive side Mr. Harding noted that the strong correlation between drought and La Niña could be a blessing in disguise, since the phenomenon is increasingly predictable and climate experts can inform decision-makers weeks and even months in advance, allowing for increased storage or stockpiling of emergency supplies in advance of a crisis. More >>>

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Water emergencies grip Tuvalu & Tokelau

As governments and aid agencies scramble to deliver desalination plants and bottled water to drought stricken Pacific Island nations of Tuvalu and Tokelau, other Pacific Island nations - Samoa and the Cook Islands - are preparing for a similar fate.
Is this band-aid approach to solving this problem going to be enough?

Redina Auina, spokeswoman for the Tuvalu Faith Based Youth network, who partner with, is in Tuvalu and describes the feelings of people as they face the reality of less than 5 days of drinkable water in the nations capital, Funafuti --
Experts say the past 12 months have been the second driest in Funafuti's 78 years of records. While we do not make any claims to it being solely a climate change related event, the reality is that the line between what is normal climatic variation and what might be extremes resulting from accelerated climate change is being blurred. This is particularly true for the hydrological cycle, which is sensitive to even subtle variations in the global climate and often results in either too much water, or in our case at the moment, too little. With an intense La Nina weather pattern over much of the Pacific, we’re not likely to see rain for months to come. It’s these kind of extremes that we are told will become our new reality for Tuvalu and the Pacific region as a whole. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

World Food Day, 16 October 2011

Food prices - from crisis to stability

Price swings, upswings in particular, represent a major threat to food security in developing countries. Hardest-hit are the poor. According to the

World Bank, in 2010-2011 rising food costs pushed nearly 70 million people into extreme poverty.

“FOOD PRICES – FROM CRISIS TO STABILITY” has been chosen as this year’s World Food Day theme to shed some light on this trend and what can be done to mitigate its impact on the most vulnerable.

On World Food Day 2011, let us look seriously at what causes swings in food prices, and do what needs to be done to reduce their impact on the weakest members of global society. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Monday, October 3, 2011

Bahamas at centre stage in UNESCO experts' meeting on climate change

THE Bahamas played a prominent role in a high-level climate change conference organised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and

Cultural Organisation.

The conference, to be held in Nassau at the Sheraton Resort from September 21 to 23, will focus on the dangers to Small Island Developing States (SIDS) from sustained changes in global climate patterns.
Local scientist Philip Weech, director of the BEST Commission and internationally renowned environmental scientist, will be among the experts participating in the conference.
He will also conduct a public lecture on the Bahamas' perspective on climate change on Thursday, September, 22, at 6.30pm at the College of the Bahamas' performing arts centre.
At a press conference on Tuesday, Elma Garraway, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, said the Bahamas was honoured to be chosen by UNESCO to host the conference, which is expected to attract nearly 100 delegates from around the world, including several heads of state.
"Besides the economic impact that this conference will have on the Bahamas and the international spotlight that it will place on us for the duration of the conference, it will be an opportune time for us to learn how we can protect ourselves from the increasing threat of global warming which has precipitated a serious shift in weather patterns across the world and indeed the Bahamas," Mrs Garraway said. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Film on Climate Refugees Strikes a Chord

During the shooting of his 2010 documentary “Climate Refugees,” the Irish-American filmmaker Michael Nash visited nearly 50 countries in about

18 months, interviewing politicians, scientists, health workers and victims of floods, cyclones, hurricanes and droughts.

Click here for film trailer

His conclusion was that short- and longer-term changes in climate are causing vast numbers of people to abandon their jobs, homes and countries to seek better lives elsewhere, or to simply survive. (Jeffrey Gettleman’s recent coverage of the Somali refugee crisis in The Times has offered some vivid and disturbing examples, although Somalia’s troubles are also inextricably linked to political turmoil.)

Mr. Nash poses a basic question: what will become of the millions of people whose lack of access to food and clean water leads them to take increasingly desperate measures? What type of strains will huge migration put on resources in more developed countries?

Will this dislocation eventually, as the retired Navy vice admiral Lee Gunn told Mr. Nash, pose a threat to Americans’ national security, too?

By focusing on the consequences of climate change rather than its scientific causes, some experts suggest that Mr. Nash succeeded in circumventing a divisive political debate over global warming and the extent to which human activity contributes to it. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands