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Addresses Heads Of State At UN Gathering

Seychelles President calls on world leaders to show political will and take courageous action to feed world's hungry

Alain St. Ange, eTN Seychelles ambassador  Nov 17, 2009

Seychelles President James Michel has made a strong appeal to world leaders to fulfill their promises of feeding the more than 1 billion of the world’s hungry, while at the same time addressing the most pertinent looming crisis affecting world food security: climate change.

“Words and declarations, however well-intentioned they be, will not suffice to tackle the root causes of hunger. They will not wipe the tears off the face of a hungry, bloated child somewhere in the underdeveloped world. We need collective action to find lasting solutions for world food security. We need decisive action to free mankind from poverty and hunger. And we need it now!” said President James Michel.

The President was addressing the heads of state gathering at the UN Food and Agricultural Organization headquarters in Rome, Italy, which is being held from November 16-18.

President Michel called for more investment in agriculture to avert climate change, as well as infrastructure, technology, and environmental protection. He also stressed that developed countries needed equitable access to world markets as many subsidies practiced in the developed world are currently distorting trade to the detriment of developing countries.

President Michel also spoke of the new threat to food security in the Indian Ocean: piracy.

“Somali pirates are venturing deeper and deeper into our waters, taking hostages, menacing shipping lanes, pouncing on industrial fishing vessels, and threatening our artisanal fishing and tourism-related activities. My government moved quickly to gather regional but more importantly global support particularly with countries having interest in the region. I express my gratitude to them for their cooperation in eradicating the scourge of piracy, which threatens our livelihood and food security.”

President Michel highlighted the plight of small island states in the imminent climate change crisis by pointing out that some small low-lying islands are already facing the forced displacement of their inhabitants. He pointed out that the changing climate is negating the rights of islanders to live and work in the land of their birth, as a violation of dignity and a threat to the very existence of the people.

“When it comes to climate change, there will be no second chances. There can be no bailouts or deficit spending to save the Earth from this impending disaster. We need to commit to a deal on emissions cuts, which is real and scientific. We must act today, to save our tomorrow,” said President Michel.

Commenting on the upcoming climate change summit on Copenhagen in December, the President noted the importance of keeping the political and action-led momentum of this forum.

“Copenhagen was a beacon of hope, but its brightness is fading. We cannot afford for Copenhagen to be just a talk shop on climate change. It must rather be a forum on action to avert disaster. We cannot at this late hour accept that a few countries, which are primarily responsible for polluting our atmosphere, hold hostage the survival of our planet. The choice is up to us. The choice to save humanity.”

Seychelles President calls on world leaders to show political will and take courageous action to feed world's hungry
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