UNESCO addresses the President of Seychelles on behalf of United Nations Country Team for Mauritius and Seychelles

On the occasion of the United Nations Country Team for Mauritius and Seychelles annual  retreat held in Seychelles from 18 to 20 May 2022, UNESCO had the opportunity to address H.E. President Wavel Ramkalawan at a High-Level meeting hosted at Seychelles State House on the 19 May 2022. This was a unique opportunity for UNESCO and the larger UNCT to meet with President Ramkalawan since his swearing in October 2020. However, the Director-General of UNESCO, Ms. Audrey Azoulay has had to meet President Wavel Ramkalawan on his official visit to UNESCO Headquarters in Paris in February 2022.

This year, the UNCT retreat focused on how to plan for sustainable development in an integrated manner, and in alignment with the national development strategy. At the same time, UNCT reviewed the development progress in Seychelles through a “Common Country Analysis” and will be working with the government to design a new Cooperation Framework for the period 2024-2028.

We would like to congratulate you, President Ramkalawan and the people of Seychelles for your effective response to the COVID-19 crisis. Your government took action to first protect people and businesses early in the pandemic, later followed by a swift vaccination of the population, thereby creating a safe environment for reopening of the country, Seychelles has since then re-launched its economy, and vibrant tourism industry.

Prof. Hubert Gijzen, UNESCO Regional Director for Eastern Africa and Representative to Seychelles

The occasion provided an opportunity to exchange development priorities and how UNESCO and larger UN can contribute to them. The current priority areas outlined in the Strategic Partnership Framework include:

  • Promoting economic transformation by supporting the blue economy and help create more sustainable livelihoods opportunities.
  • Promoting environmental sustainability and resilience by supporting the efficient utilization of natural resources and the development of renewable energies.
  • Promoting the development of human capital by strengthening the health systems, helping invest in youth, and promoting social development and human rights.
  • Supporting the preparation of data for development and promoting Science, Technology and Innovation

The objective of the retreat and high-level dialogue is essential to better understand the priorities of the country whilst also ensuring engagement vis-à-vis key opportunities and challenges for the charting of a strategic way forward with the support of the UN.

On the same day, 19 May 2022, the first Multi-Sector Policy Dialogue between the Government of Seychelles and UNCT was held. The High-Level Dialogue was co-chaired by H.E. Mr. Sylvestre Radegonde, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Tourism, and Ms. Christine N. Umutoni, United Nations Resident Coordinator for Mauritius and Seychelles with all the Cabinet Ministers of the Government of Seychelles present.

This was an open and constructive exchange between the Seychelles’ Ministers and other representatives from both the Government and the United Nations Country Team members, in order to reflect on the country’s response to COVID-19 pandemic and to identify priority areas of support and cooperation for the next UN-Seychelles Strategic Partnership Framework (2024-2028) in parallel with the country’s National Development Strategy (NDS)

The two co-chairs recognized the excellent collaboration that exist between Seychelles and the United Nations, which extends over a broad scope of areas. The delegates exchanged experiences and best practices on possible cooperation on a number of issues of common interest, including the priority areas outlined for the next NDS, namely Transformative Economy, Environment Sustainability, Climate Change, Human Rights, Law and Order, Health, Social Affairs, Education and Culture.

Minister Sylvestre Radegonde and Ms. Christine Umutoni acknowledged the role that the United Nations Country Team can play in advocating for Seychelles’ priorities and vulnerabilities as a Small Island Developing State (SIDS), which is also a priority for UNESCO. Both sides also agreed to work in synergy as a way forward, for the benefit and improvement of the socio-economic development of the country, post COVID-19 pandemic.

Minister Sylvestre Radegonde took the opportunity to reiterate the appreciation of the Government for the continued support of the United Nations Agencies, Funds and Programmes towards Seychelles while Ms. Christine Umutoni, UN Resident Coordinator expressed the commitment of the UNCT through collective engagement to contribute to Seychelles development aspirations, moving from recovery to sustainable development, with a focus on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

Members of the UNCT present for the courtesy call included the Deputy Regional Director for UN Women, Ms. Zebib Kavuma; the Acting Director and Regional Representative for United Nations Development Programme (UNEP), Mr. Frank Turyatunga; the Representative to  Mauritius and Seychelles for United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Ms. Amanda  Serumaga; the Representative to Mauritius, Seychelles, Madagascar and Comoros for Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Mr. Charles Boliko; the Country Office Director for Madagascar, Comoros, Mauritius and Seychelles for International Labour Organization (ILO) Mr. Coffi Agossou; the Country Director for Madagascar, Comoros, Mauritius and Seychelles for UNAIDS, Mr. Jude Padayachy; the Representative to Madagascar and Country Director for Comoros, Mauritius and Seychelles for United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Mr. Koffi Kouame; the Head of Mission for International Organization for Migration (IOM), Mrs. Celine Lemmel; the Country Representative for World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Rex  Mpanzanje; and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Regional Director for Eastern Africa and Representative to Seychelles, Mauritius, Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Kenya, Madagascar, Rwanda, Somalia and Uganda, Prof. Hubert Gijzen.