The Sustainable Development Goals in Seychelles
The Sustainable Development Goals are a global call to action to end poverty, protect the earth’s environment and climate, and ensure that people everywhere can enjoy peace and prosperity. These are the goals the UN is working on in the United Nations Resident Coordinator's office for Seychelles:
18 September 2023
Seychelles says YES to Transforming Education
The inaugural Youth Education Summit, which took place on 15 September in Victoria was organized by the Ministry of Education with support from the United Nations Resident Coordinator’s Office for Mauritius and Seychelles, WHO and ILO.* Young people between the ages of 13-30 representing secondary schools across the country, post-secondary institutions, the University of Seychelles, youth organizations and leaders, young entrepreneurs, and professionals from various sectors and self-employed youth came together to discuss how to transform an education system that needs to adapt to the rapidly changing times. In her opening remarks the UN Resident Coordinator, Ms. Lisa Simrique Singh highlighted that educational transformation needs to be inclusive and equitable with investment to prepare youth with the skills for today and jobs of the future. The theme for this summit ‘Negotiating a new education landscape’ builds on the World Transforming Education Summit that took place in September 2022 in New York. The United Nations Secretary General Mr. António Guterres urged Ministries of Education to embark on a journey that will bring transformation in education. During the World Summit delegates resolved to place the youth in the driving seat when it comes to planning and implementing education reform initiatives. The Minister of Education, Dr. Justin Valentin in his opening remarks underlined his commitment to fostering engagement with young people: “We celebrate the power of youth participation...the recommendations we make today will contribute to shaping the trajectory of the future of our nation.” Building on the principles of inclusion, the summit provided a platform for young people to voice their perspectives on the most pressing issues affecting their learning journey. The four key topics explored by the youth during the group discussions were ‘New Models of Schooling’, ’Life Skills’, ‘Access to Opportunities’ and ‘Healthy Living’. Concrete recommendations were made by the participants. The summit concluded on a high note with the Minister of Education declaring that the group of young people in the room would comprise the first Youth Education Council engaging regularly with his ministry. ******************************************** *World Health Organization (WHO) and International Labour Organization (ILO)
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11 August 2023
Sustainable Solutions for Solid Waste Management
Solid waste management poses a significant challenge to Seychelles. As a small island state surrounded by the ocean there is a scarcity of land, which is combined with a lack of engineered landfills. The island generates about 80,000 tons of waste per year though this number is expected to increase by 50 percent by 2030. Currently the waste is disposed in communal bins around the island and transferred to a landfill facility. However, the primary landfill on the main island of Mahe is expected to reach full capacity by 2025. Facilitating the implementation of a circular economy is of critical importance to reduce the amount of waste flowing to the landfills. On World Environment Day the United Nations Secretary-General emphasized: “We must work as one – governments, companies, and consumers alike – to break our addiction to plastics, champion zero waste, and build a truly circular economy.” The circular economy approach is key to operationalizing the Government of Seychelles Solid Waste Management Plan 2020-2035 and United Nations priorities to reduce both land and marine pollution. UNEP, UNDP, UNFPA and UNECA* are working together under the Joint SDG Fund to support the development of circular economy roadmap and action plan, financing strategy and strengthen partnership between the public and private sector. Underpinned by the UN principle to leave no one behind, gender sensitive policies and strategies are integrated throughout the project’s circular economy initiatives. On 13 July, the UNDP launched the SDG Investor Map, which addresses the need to mobilize private sector investment in critical waste management infrastructures. This market intelligence tool identifies concrete and emerging Investment Opportunity Areas to attract private capital to national development needs and policy priorities in five sectors with strong SDG positive impact. This will help to scale up the necessary investments in circular economy opportunities contributing to a reduction in the amount of solid waste being directed to the landfill. Find out more at the UNDP Mauritius & Seychelles website. *United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).
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28 August 2023
Vision 2030: Advancing Progress for LGBTI+ Inclusion and Rights in Africa
In Sub-Saharan Africa and around the world, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI+) people continue to experience exclusion, violence, discrimination and violations of human rights. On 29-30 July 2023, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) “#WeBelongAfrica: Inclusive Governance Initiative” and the Hivos “Free to be me” project jointly organized the “Vision 2030: LGBTI+ Inclusion in Sub-Saharan Africa” consultation in Mauritius. The consultation sought to review and analyse progress being made on LGBTI+ inclusion and human rights in the region, and to identify priorities and strategic approaches to achieve concrete change. The consultation was a follow-up to a regional multi-stakeholder workshop organized by UNDP in 2019 that resulted in the development of a foundational strategic framework and set out the following vision for progress: “By 2030, the countries of Sub-Saharan Africa will enable inclusive, just, affirming, safe, productive and fulfilling lives for all their people, irrespective of sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or sex characteristics. This vision will be driven by African values of dignity, fairness, acceptance of diversity and respect for privacy, underpinned by the ethic of Ubuntu – the universal bond of a shared humanity.” The consultation was attended by over 60 diverse stakeholders, including from civil society, development partners, as well as allies from parliament, regional economic communities, and national and regional human rights institutions. In her opening address, Lisa Singh, the UN Resident Coordinator for Mauritius and Seychelles, stated: “Around the world and in far too many countries in Africa, LGBTI+ persons continue to face social, political and economic exclusion and human rights violations based on their actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics.” “We need to advocate continuously for the rights of the LGBTI+ community to be respected and ensure they are protected from any form violence, persecution, discrimination, harassment and stigma,” she emphasized. The consultation provided an opportunity for exchange and analysis of common challenges that are being confronted in countries. “This regional multi-stakeholder consultation offers a real opportunity to measure how far we have come in advancing LGBTI+ rights and inclusion, while also acknowledging the substantial work that remains ahead,” said George Biock, Programme Analyst, HIV and Health Group at UNDP Democratic Republic of Congo. “Transforming our goals into reality is within our grasp – to achieve it, we must actively collaborate, share our knowledge and put people in all their diversity at the centre of our efforts.” While there have been a number of notable legal and social advances on LGBTI+ protections in recent decades, including the decriminalization of adult consensual same-sex behaviour in Gabon, Seychelles, Botswana, Angola, Lesotho and Mozambique, marginalization and human rights violations remain widespread, and in some countries draconian new anti-LGBTI+ laws and policies are being introduced. “In the midst of the challenges we’re confronting that can feel overwhelming and dispiriting, it is important to celebrate and learn from the fact that the fight back from queer organizations and activists has been courageous and impressive,” remarked Anne Jellema, Hivos Chief Executive Director. “In Nigeria, the enactment of the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act of 2019 has been a major setback to the protection of rights, not just of the LGBTI+ community but of the larger Nigerian population,” explained Tony Ojukwu, Executive Secretary of the Nigerian National Human Rights Commission. “We have realized that the National Human Rights Commission cannot act alone. We need allies within the LGBTI+ communities; first responders who can act quickly in reporting violations; and partners that can mobilize psycho-social support for victims.” “In May 2023, the Anti-Homosexuality Act was signed into law in Uganda,” said Richard Lusimbo, Director of the Ugandan KP Consortium. “Despite the immense challenges posed by this regressive law, an inspiring coalition of Ugandan LGBTI+ activists and their allies are not giving up the fight for human rights and equality. Instead, we are taking necessary steps to enhance resilience and continue advocacy efforts by challenging the unconstitutionality of the new law; providing critical emergency legal aid to those on the frontlines; and continuing to engage with our international partners to ensure the message is clear on what the community in Uganda calls for,” he said. Participants at the consultation also learned from gains that have been made across different change pathways at community, country and regional levels. Discussions on gaps and opportunities looked at ways of strengthening strategies, programmes, partnerships and coordination. Looking ahead, the consultation identified several key areas for action that stakeholders should place at the forefront of their priorities. These include focusing on efforts to shape social norms; build the LGBTI+ movement and alliances with other movements; promote inclusive laws, policies and governance; enhance public sector services; improve coordination among projects and initiatives; and harness the African human rights system and the UN system within the realms of the SDGs, rights and development, to address LGBTI+ issues. Participants reinforced the urgency to strengthen and expand multistakeholder collaboration and synergy across locations, institutions and initiatives. ******* Story first published on UNDP Africa website.
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19 June 2023
Digital Transformation for the SDGs and Youth Rights
The uncertainty and crises characterizing our global context today calls for risk-informed strategic planning and policy-making to identify emerging trends and seize opportunities to transform the future. As such the United Nations initiated a Noontime Knowledge series of consultations to give youth the space to have their voices heard about the issues that affect the future of their country and our planet. Hosted in collaboration with academia each session brings together students, experts, researchers, advocates, and/or practitioners for 60-minute discussions on key strategic issues for Mauritius and Seychelles to: Inform youth about the latest and emerging global and regional trends and their possible impact on the two countries both risks and opportunities. Share experiences and stories from young “game-changers” acting at the local level to make transformations happen. Listen to key solutions proposed by the youth, to feed in the dialogue at national, regional, and global levels, including the main global events (COP, SDG Summit, Food Systems Summits, etc.). The first session of the Noontime Knowledge was organized in December 2022 with the students of the Faculty of Agriculture of the University of Mauritius, and it explored the COP27 outcomes and their implications for small island states (SIDS) like Mauritius and Seychelles. The second edition was co-organized with the Students’ Environmental Club of the Charles Telfair Campus. It focused on food security and youth action, linking national debates and actions from the global dialogue around the Food Systems Summit with the next Summit to be held in July. The most recent in the Noontime Knowledge series brought together youth advocates from UN Youth Seychelles, young entrepreneurs, students and teachers from the ITC course at the University of Seychelles, and United Nations experts to discuss how to harness digital transformation to boost progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and foster youth empowerment in the lead up to the SDG Summit being held in September.
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08 August 2023
First Regional Review Meeting for Small Islands Conference Unveils Ambitious Vision
Gathered in Port Louis, Mauritius, the small island nations of the Atlantic, Indian Ocean and South China Sea (AIS) along with international partners came together to review sustainable development progress and propose new partnerships and solutions. The consultations closed with an ambitious vision document outlining how the region aims to tackle the numerous crises it is facing. A strengthened multilateralism is key to addressing the unique challenges faced by SIDS, while leaving no one behind. United in their pursuit of sustainable development, the island nations seek to empower and uplift their countries and peoples through cooperative and collective efforts. Acknowledging the challenges they faced in implementing the previous programme of action for the SIDS, known as the SAMOA Pathway (2014), special attention was paid to better coordination in the region, attempting to overcome challenges posed by the vast geographical, political and economic diversity of the eight nations. Despite making significant progress, SIDS in the AIS region are still grappling with the adverse impacts of climate change, COVID-19, water scarcity, energy access, transportation connectivity, aging populations, and brain drain. Addressing these issues requires enhanced international cooperation and support. The vision for the next decade articulated at the meeting prioritizes economic resilience and fosters long-term partnerships to achieve sustainable prosperity. It acknowledges SIDS’ dependence on external trade and Official Development Assistance and stresses the need for preferential access to markets and finance, as well as debt relief. And they called on the international community to help their transition to sustainable economic models, digital transformation, and research and development for environmentally sound technologies. Acknowledging the significance of the ocean to their culture, identity, and prosperity, the document commits to its protection and sustainable use. Through it, island nations commit to efforts to tackle plastic pollution, preserve biodiversity, and pursue ambitious climate action and disaster risk reduction. Given the urgency of the climate crisis, they also urge international partners to help them achieve shared goals, including limiting temperature increase to 1.5 °C. The wide-ranging vision also saw a commitment to supporting sustainable social protection systems, reducing poverty, and addressing inequalities to strengthen the resilience of SIDS populations in the region. It aims to achieve food and energy security through enhanced local production and aims to build inclusive digital societies through the promotion of digital literacy for all. Written by UN DESA article first appeared on the UNDESA website.
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