In a fervent address at the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) in Dubai Expo City, President Wavel Ramkalawan of Seychelles underscored the urgency of fulfilling climate commitments. The small island nation, with 90 per cent of its infrastructure and human activities along low-lying coastal areas, faces a disproportionate risk from climate change.
President Ramkalawan expressed disappointment over unkept promises, notably the $100 billion finance commitment, the scaling of adaptation finance, and the Loss and Damage Fund, which recently received $100 million each from the UAE and Germany. These funds are critical for countries like Seychelles that are on the frontline of climate change impacts.
Urgency of Climate Action
President Ramkalawan advocated for an urgent shift in political will to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius, aligning with the Paris Agreement's more ambitious target. He also called for reforms in international financial institutions to facilitate easier access to funds for climate projects.
The President highlighted Seychelles' significant investment needs in infrastructure and adaptation. A recent survey estimated that $22 million is needed for coastal erosion mitigation alone, and the country's updated National Determined Contribution (NDC) indicates a need for $600 million over the next decade.
Decarbonization and Conservation Efforts
Despite these challenges, Seychelles continues to spearhead efforts to decarbonize its energy sector, protect ecosystems, and maintain conservation efforts. These initiatives were exemplified by the recent return of blue whales to its waters after 60 years, a testament to the country's commitment to environmental preservation. Seychelles also showcases its environmental initiatives at the Dubai Expo City pavilion, including eco-school projects and sustainable business opportunities.
The COP28 conference, a critical juncture in the global fight against climate change, is scheduled to conclude on December 12.