UNSG Ban Ki-moon bids farewell following historic visit to Seychelles
The United Nations Secretary-General, Mr Ban Ki-moon has departed earlier today following the successful completion of a two-day visit to the Republic of Seychelles.
President James Michel and Vice President Danny Faure bid the Secretary-General and his delegation farewell at the Seychelles International Airport this afternoon, accompanied by a high-level Seychelles delegation.
“Mr Ban Ki-moon's visit to Seychelles is a testament to the excellent relationship that Seychelles has established with the United Nations. It also an acknowledgment of Seychelles' leadership role in the international arena on numerous issues facing in particular Small Island Developing States. Mr Ban and I share a common aspiration for an equitable future for all peoples and a world, for which we will find innovative solutions to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change. It was a great honor for us to receive his Excellency and Mrs. Ban Soon-taek, which will serve to strengthen our friendship and our determination to build a better world for future generations,” said President Michel.
During his visit Mr. Ban had the opportunity to engage with various government officials, parliamentarians, youth and environmentalists as well as gain a greater understanding of the socio-economic, political and judicial development of Seychelles.
On Saturday, Mr. Ban visited the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Vallée de Mai on Praslin Island, where he walked through the largest intact Coco de Mer palm forest, endemic to the Seychelles islands.
Prior to his departure the Secretary-General visited the Courts of Justice. He also met with the Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr. Patrick Herminie. Mr. Ban then visited the Seychelles Coast Guard Base and the Botanical Gardens where he planted a Coco de Mer palm.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Judiciary of Seychelles, have collaborated closely especially in the prosecution of Somali piracy offenders, involved in maritime piracy off the coast of Somalia that were apprehended by Seychelles and international maritime forces. At the Supreme Court, the United Nations Secretary-General met with the Chief Justice, Dr. Mathilda Twomey as well as other members of the judiciary where he viewed video links with Montagne Possee prison and he was given a presentation of the demonstration of the cooperation between UNODC and judiciary in terms of prosecution and disposal of piracy cases of which there has seen over 140 pirates tried.
The UNSG praised Seychelles for having embraced the challenge of prosecuting international crimes and looked forward to new and enlarged cooperation to tackle human and drug trafficking.
Mr. Ban addressed an extraordinary session of the National assembly where he remarked that Seychelles is an inspiring example of sustainable development, which has succeeded in steadily raising the standard of living. He also drew attention to Seychelles impressive record on achieving most of the Millennium Development Goals which demonstrates that it is possible to thrive economically, while improving healthcare and education, caring for the most vulnerable and protecting the environment.
In his address the Secretary-General commended Seychelles and the National Assembly on its strong record on democracy demonstrated most recently by the reduction in presidential terms to a maximum of two terms, serving as an example to the region.
The Secretary-General also praised the National Assembly for the high number of women representatives. He said that trend is positive and Seychelles ranked second for gender equality on the African continent.
Mr. Ban visited the Seychelles Coast Guard Base and viewed the various local capabilities in not only policing Seychelles' vast maritime territory but ensuring that the western Indian Ocean remains a zone of security and peace.
The Secretary-General also visited the Botanical Gardens and reiterated that for islands like Seychelles action on climate change and sustainable development are a matter of survival. Seychelles has enacted programs to protect Seychelles fragile ecosystem and endemic flora and fauna.
On his departure the Secretary-General Mr. Ban Ki-moon expressed that he was impressed by Seychelles' sense of responsibility in the world and reiterated that the county might be small but its ideas where vast. Mr. Ban noted that he was confident that the country's leadership would continue to build on Seychelles' record as vibrant and strong democracy and thanked the Government and people for Seychelles' leadership role key international issues.