09 May 2016

Opening remarks at press conference with Prime Minister Sir Anerood Jugnauth of Mauritius

Ban Ki-moon

Mr. Prime Minister,
Ladies and gentlemen of the media,

Let me begin by thanking the Government and the people of the Republic of Mauritius for their warm welcome and solidarity.

I am very pleased to be visiting Mauritius for the first time as Secretary-General.

I am here to highlight the important leadership role that Mauritius plays among Small Island Developing States – as well as its contributions in many areas including climate action, promoting the ocean economy, and advancing sustainable development.

Later today, I will attend the International Council on Commercial Arbitration. I am also very touched to be receiving an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Mauritius.

I look forward to visiting Aapravasi Ghat and Le Morne Cultural Landscape tomorrow – two sites that are inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List – and that shine a light on the history, consequences and lessons of the slave trade.

I am impressed by Mauritius’ achievements in socio-economic development and in consolidating democracy.

Mauritius met almost all the Millennium Development Goals and is regarded as the most competitive economy in sub-Saharan region. In 2005, Mauritius hosted a critical international conference from which emerged the first global plan on Small Island Developing States for the 21st century – the Mauritius Strategy.

Its economic policies, focusing on growth and employment and its strong social welfare system, are models for others. These initiatives have contributed to helping Mauritius become an upper middle-income country.

I am confident that Mauritius’ leadership role and impressive socio-economic performance will also be instrumental in promoting women’s economic empowerment and strengthening gender equality.

As we all know, the impact of climate change is evident around the world, but perhaps nowhere more than in small islands developing states. Weather events are becoming more extreme. Rainfall patterns are changing. Coral reefs are dying. Sea-levels are rising.

I warmly welcome the signature and ratification of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. Mauritius was among the first 15 countries who deposited its instrument of ratification at the same time of as signing the Paris Agreement on 22 April in New York.

Mauritius will continue to have an important leadership role in its implementation along with other States, and this ties into the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.

I commend the Government of the Republic of Mauritius for already taking a step forward to develop its economic Vision 2030.

Taking this opportunity, I would also like to congratulate H.E. Dr. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim in her role as co-Chair of the High Level Panel on Water. The Water Panel aims to mobilize effective action to accelerate the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 6 on water, which focuses on ensuring the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all, at a time of unprecedented challenges.

Mauritius has much to offer the world, and in particular, Africa, by way of promoting peace, maintaining unity and national identity while respecting the diversity of its people.

I am very pleased to have the opportunity to visit Mauritius as Secretary-General of the United Nations – and to further strengthen our ties.

Thank you. Merci.