DUBAI - The Seychelles urges the world nations to enhance climate action, enabling vulnerable countries to allocate funds for development, the island nation’s President Wavel Ramkalawan told the Emirates News Agency (WAM).

The Seychelles is grappling with the impact of natural disasters caused by emissions from developed countries, he said in an interview with WAM during the recently concluded World Governments Summit in Dubai.

“Our coastlines are being destroyed. Some of our islands are losing the sand and trees that help keep the islands together,” said the President about the climate crisis in the western Indian Ocean nation comprising about 115 islands with a population of around 100,000.

He emphasised that mitigating climate change would redirect funds currently spent on protecting nature towards education, health, and other sustainable development goals. “This is a message from small Seychelles to the world.”

The African nation, lying east of northeastern Tanzania, actively safeguards its ocean, mangroves, seagrass, and limited landmass, Ramkalawan stressed.

“And do not forget,” he stressed that the Seychelles not only addresses its emissions but also contributes to addressing global emissions.

For Seychelles, this is a matter of survival, and the message to the world is clear, "Take us seriously,” the President asserted.

Optimism on Loss and Damage Fund

He expressed satisfaction with the historic agreement on the operationalisation of the Loss and Damage Fund and funding arrangements at COP28, the UN Climate Conference in Dubai in last December. Multiple parties committed US$700 million to the Fund during the conference.

Loss and damage refer to the negative consequences that arise from the unavoidable risks of climate change, like rising sea levels, prolonged heatwaves, desertification, the acidification of the sea and extreme events, such as bushfires, species extinction and crop failures.

The President is optimistic that the fund's disbursal mechanism won't adversely impact Seychelles, being a high-income country in Africa.

The Seychelles’ gross domestic product (GDP) is growing more rapidly than the population and its gross national income (GNI) per capita is significantly higher than those found in most nearby continental African countries, according to various reports.

Seychelles-UAE ties

The Seychelles and the UAE enjoy a very good rapport, Ramkalawan affirmed.

The UAE has considerable investments, especially in renewable energy and a number of other projects in the Seychelles, he noted.

Beyond investments, he emphasised the importance of people-to-people ties. Numerous Seychellois work in the UAE, and a significant number of Emiratis and UAE residents visit Seychelles as tourists. Additionally, Seychelles' top executives are undergoing training in the UAE, Ramkalawan noted.

“[Above all] there's a good chemistry between the UAE and the Seychelles. This is why we are the best of friends. We respect each other and this is what matters.“