GIS – September 27, 2013: Climate Change as a Public Policy Challenge was the focus of a panel discussion which was held yesterday in the Lunch Room of the National Assembly in Port Louis. The objective was to enable fruitful exchange of ideas with the participants and enrich the ongoing national debate on climate change.
Organised at the initiative of the Institute of Diplomacy and Foreign Trade under the aegis of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, in collaboration with the Mauritius (LSE) Society Trust Fund, the event brought together some 80 participants from different Ministries and departments, the private sector as well as Resident Diplomatic Missions in Mauritius and UN bodies.
In his keynote address, the Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, Mr Devanand Virahsawmy, pointed out that Government has made climate change adaptation and mitigation a national priority and remains committed to sustainable development based on a holistic, equitable and far-sighted approach to decision-making at all levels.
Mr Virahsawmy recalled that tackling the problem of climate change is a huge challenge because of the complexity of the issue and its cross-boundary nature. He also referred to the unequal responsibilities of Nation States in the creation of climate change-related problems and the tough political and financial choices which go hand in hand with addressing mitigation and adaptation processes.
The impacts of climate change present a serious multifaceted development challenge since they remain a huge threat to all aspects of human development. Mauritius is vulnerable to considerable economic loss, humanitarian stresses and environmental degradation as a result of climate change impacts, said the Minister.
“They can even affect the capacity of developing countries to achieve the Millennium Development Goals when it comes to poverty reduction, given the cross-sectoral impacts of climate change”, he said while referring to the inextricable links between climate change and development.
Resource persons for the panel discussion included Dr Robert Falkner, Associate Professor in International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), and Baroness Kishwer Falkner of Margravine, Member of the House of Lords of the British Parliament.
Dr Falkner is a Reader in International Relations at the LSE where he started as lecturer in 2002. His main research interests are international political economy and global environmental politics with emphasis on climate policy and global governance. Baroness Falkner of Margravine joined the British Liberal Democrats in the mid 1980s. Since her appointment in the House of Lords in 2004, she has been the spokesperson of various portfolios and has served on several committees including Human Rights, European Affairs, and International Development.
Two presentations were also on the agenda namely, ‘Maurice Ile Durable (MID) with focus on challenges relating to Climate Change’ by Mr Osman Mahomed, Executive Chairperson of MID; and, ‘Climate Change Policies in Mauritius - The Challenge’ by Mrs. S. L. Ng Yun Wing, Director, Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development.
The Institute of Diplomacy and Foreign Trade has been active for over five years now. It organises short and long-term training courses, workshops and lectures for diplomats and technical staff from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade and other Ministries. These sessions are carried out with the help of foreign resource persons and from Mauritius (academia, senior civil servants and private sector officials). The private sector too is given the opportunity to participate in the courses and workshops.
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