Seychelles leader urges debt reduction to address climate change

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James Alix Michel. UN Photo/Evan Schneider

Unsustainable debt levels of Small Island Developing States or SIDS are making it difficult for them to address climate change.

That's what the Climate Summit was on Tuesday told by President James Alix Michel of Seychelles, an archipelago in the Indian Ocean.

He said world leaders have heard "exhortations, complaints and pleas" for help from small island states which are on the frontline in the battle against climate change.

President Michel said many SIDS are acting on the issue because it is crucial to their survival but also because they believe in the survival of humanity.

"We want to take the lead but we remain burdened by unsustainable debt levels. They challenge our ability to invest in building resilience against climate change. Seychelles is hoping finalize innovative debt-for-adaptation swaps that allow us to create marine protected areas that build climate resilience while receiving debt reduction." (24")

President Michel has also called for more ownership by islands and coastal states of what he called their "blue economy" referring to the utilization of marine resources.

He told the Climate Summit that SIDS want to strengthen their ability to build resilience, sustainability, food security and economic prosperity.

Daniel Dickinson, United Nations

Duration: 1'24"

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