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Climate change is happening. Its adverse effects are being felt around the world and pose a great threat to our planet. Seychelles is no exception. Devastating floods on La Digue in 2013 affected the lives of the local communities, damaging infrastructure and causing important revenue losses on an island whose economy is essentially based on tourism and fisheries. Sea level rise is also already affecting Seychelles leading to coastal erosion, impacting infrastructure, and increasing soil salinity with a negative impact on food and water supply.
The Paris Agreement on climate change, which was adopted by 196 countries in 2015, sets out an action plan to put the world on track to avoid negative effects of climate change. The Agreement is a key achievement of multilateralism, and the Republic of Seychelles was among the first countries to ratify it.
However, we already know that the emissions' reduction targets put forward by countries in Paris will not be enough to reach our common objective of limiting global warming to well below 2°C compared to pre-industrial levels, let alone 1.5°C. This is why we must continue to raise our collective ambition and speed up the implementation of the Paris Agreement.
The European Union and its Member States are fully engaged in this process. This year, we are joining governments and stakeholders from round the world in the framework of the ‘Talanoa Dialogue’ to assess how far we have come since Paris and to look at possibilities for enhanced action. This dialogue represents a milestone as it is the first opportunity since Paris to look at our collective efforts so far.
Another important deliverable for the international community this year is the work on the Paris Agreement "rulebook", a set of detailed transparency and governance rules for putting the agreement into practice. Adopting this “rulebook” at the next UN climate conference (COP24) in December is vital.
At the EU level, we have put forward an ambitious emissions’ reduction target on which we are already delivering. Indeed, we are well-advanced in putting in place the domestic legislative framework to deliver our target of cutting domestic greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels. In parallel, we are looking beyond 2030, and are already working on a strategy for long-term EU greenhouse gas emissions reduction.
Simultaneously, the EU is stepping up international cooperation and support to its partners, for example through policy dialogues, capacity-building projects and climate finance. The EU remains committed to the collective goal of mobilising USD 100 billion a year in climate finance by 2020.
Here in Seychelles, the EU is providing technical expertise to strengthen and boost the Government's capacity to better resist and adapt to climate change. In this respect, the EU supports the Government in putting in place the appropriate climate policy framework, including the preparation of a Climate Change Policy. We are also partnering with the Government to better protect communities from increasing coastal erosion and floods in vulnerable areas, in particular on La Digue. This includes restoring critical habitats such as wetlands as a concrete measure to prevent coastline erosion. For this, we are working in close collaboration with the communities in La Digue as we are committed to address their concerns in the most efficient way. The only way to do that is to listen to them and to involve them in the action that we are implementing.
Low-emissions and climate-resilient growth is possible for countries at all levels of income. It can bring multiple and tangible benefits for people, the economy and the environment. Paris was a defining moment in global climate action, but it now needs to be implemented. The EU is determined to implement the Paris Agreement, and to do its part to accelerate the global transition to a low-emission, climate-resilient future. We are committed to work with all partners in the Republic of Seychelles to continue to lead the way towards a more sustainable future.
H.E. Mrs Marjaana Sall,
Ambassador of the European Union to the Republic of Seychelles