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Minister Antony Derjacques engages in High-Level Discussions at the Global Supply Chain Forum in Barbados

Minister Antony Derjacques engages in High-Level Discussions at the Global Supply Chain Forum in Barbados

Barbados, May 23, 2024 – Minister for Transport, Mr. Antony Derjacques, joined global leaders from Fiji, Tuvalu, the Marshall Islands, Guyana, Curaçao, Barbados, and Martinique, as well as private sector leaders and representatives from international organizations, at the Global Supply Chain Forum held in Barbados from 21st to 24th May, 2024.

The opening ceremony, held Tuesday, was attended by notable figures including UNCTAD Secretary-General Rebecca Grynspan, UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed, and the Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Amor Mottley. The speakers emphasized the urgent need to transform global supply chains, particularly addressing the challenges faced by Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

The Forum served as a critical platform for sharing knowledge, best practices, and developing actionable strategies to improve global supply chains. It underscored the urgency of addressing the challenges faced by SIDS and the collective responsibility of all stakeholders to work towards a more equitable, sustainable, and resilient future for global trade.

Minister Derjacques participated in the Plenary High-Level Ministerial Dialogue on SIDS: Key Challenges and Opportunities, moderated by H.E. Mr. Matthew Wilson, Ambassador of Barbados to the United Nations in Geneva, the World Trade Organization, and other international organizations. This dialogue aimed to foster collaboration and formulate actionable solutions to enhance efficiency, sustainability, and resilience in SIDS' supply chains.

Drawing from Seychelles' unique experience as a Small Island Developing State, Minister Derjacques highlighted key challenges the country has faced due to recent crises and disruptions affecting transportation and logistics. He specifically addressed the severe disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, its impact on the cost of living, and Seychelles' efforts to reopen its airport.

Minister Derjacques emphasized the vulnerabilities of SIDS and the financial challenges they face in funding major projects. “As a high-income country, Seychelles faces specific problems because we do not have access to concessionary funding for development like other developing states. A Multidimensional Vulnerability Index would help recognize our specific challenges,” he stated.

He also discussed how Seychelles is often bypassed by major shipping lanes, necessitating the Port of Victoria Rehabilitation & Extension project to modernize the port and attract more shipping traffic. Regarding the Seychelles International Airport, he mentioned the ongoing process to finalise a master plan.

The Minister also highlighted the impact of climate change on SIDS, including coastal and road infrastructure erosion, which often requires rebuilding in different areas and at different elevations.

Throughout the event, there was a strong sentiment of multilateral cooperation, with speakers advocating for collaborative efforts to mitigate supply chain disruptions and enhance regional strategies. The role of international organizations in fostering such collaboration was emphasized as crucial for achieving sustainable development in all regions.

The Forum recognised the need for ports and logistics to adapt to the evolving global trade landscape and provide alternative routes in response to natural disasters or geopolitical tensions. A recurring theme was the call for a reformed global financial architecture to create fair opportunities for developing countries to engage in global trade and investment. The Bridgetown Initiative was highlighted as a significant step towards addressing financial and policy challenges hindering the development of SIDS.

Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley passionately spoke about Barbados' historical role and potential future as a hub for responsible business conduct, decent work in supply chains, and policies promoting equity and fairness.

Minister Derjacques is accompanied on this overseas mission by the Chief Executive Officer of the Seychelles Maritime Safety Authority, Captain Daniel Adam.

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