Climate action a matter of survival for small island states

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UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addresses the Seychelles National Assembly. Seated at right is Speaker Dr. Patrick Herminie. Photo: UNRIC Nairobi/Newton Kanhema.

Climate action and sustainable development are a matter of survival for small island states like the Seychelles, the UN Secretary-General said on Sunday.

In a speech to the country's National Assembly, Ban Ki-moon also praised the contribution these countries have made to global efforts to address climate change.

Dianne Penn reports.

Mr Ban spoke about "the universal project" of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that seek to create a healthy planet where all people live in dignity.

He said the 17 goals are interconnected and cannot be carried out in isolation.

"But for island states, climate action and sustainable development are a matter of survival. They are two mutually reinforcing sides of the same coin. Storms, coastal erosion and rising sea levels can halt and reverse sustainable development initiatives in a matter of hours or days. SDG goal 14 on conserving and using oceans and marine resources for sustainable development carries particular resonance for you."

The UN chief said small island states like the Seychelles have served as "a magnifying lens" for many of the climate and development issues that all nations must face.

He said their experiences, commitment and insights have been "invaluable" in global discussions on climate change.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1’16″

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