- Seychelles President James Michel has appealled to world leaders for the protection of the right of small island states to exist, at the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.
"Like the leaders of other small island states, I am not here to celebrate the limited progress, but to speak out once again, as we have always done, of our fight for survival, our human right to exist. We are here, to fight for a deal based on equality and fairness," President Michel said in his address to the conference.
He said said that the current situation in the negotiation process is not satisfactory and that without legally binding and just solution, countries around the world will not take action on climate change, or that action would be limited.
He said that the present situation is in effect a "rich man's deal" which will only reinforce existing inequalities between developed and developing countries.
"A perfumed declaration offers little hope to the farmer, the fisherman, the villagers and coastal populations directly affected already. An insubstantial declaration also will not safeguard the riches some have amassed in the long run. We need an agreement to save our common future," he said.
Mr Michel also pointed out that the Small Island Developing States and Least Developed Countries as well as African countries affected by drought and desertification are the ones most affected by climate change and yet they are the least guilty of causing it.
"Today we must listen to the voice of reason, the voice of realism. We are here because we know that climate change is already with us. It is already threatening the existence of humanity....History will judge us either as courageous leaders who took measures to save humanity or as politicians who abdicated our responsibilities and brought about immense suffering and hardship," he charged.
Amid the doubts expressed by country and group negotiators at the Copenhagen conference, President Michel asked world leaders to reconsider the importance of this event for future generations and push forward for a resolution to the impasse.
Seychelles is one of the smallest producers of emissions in the world with over 50 percent of its land mass declared as nature reserves. In 2007 President Michel launched the Sea Level Rise Foundation. Seychelles is aiming to be climate neutral by 2020, with investment in renewable energy as well as energy saving technology.
Seychelles launched its climate change strategy at this conference.
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