- Rajesh Jeetah
- Dr Jeetah was elected Member of the National Assembly in December 2003 for the first time for Constituency No.7 (Piton/Rivière du Rempart), and remained so until April 2005. Dr Jeetah was re-elected as: • Member of the National Assembly for Constituency No.11 (Vieux Grand Port-Rose Belle), in 2005 and became Minister of Industry, Small and Medium Enterprises, Commerce & Cooperatives (2005 to 2008).He became Minister of Health & Quality of Life (2008 to 2010). • Member of the National Assembly for Constituency No.10 (Montagne Blanche- GRSE)in 2010 and became Minister of Tertiary Education, Science, Research and Technology till 2014. Education and Qualifications: a. University of Cambridge (2002 -2003) - ACU Research Fellowship b. University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST) (1984-1993) • BSc (Hons) – Textile Technology • PhD – Textile Technology
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High-Level Ministerial and Experts Workshop for scientists and policy makers in STI policy systems and governance for sustainable development and climate change resilience of Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) STI-for-SIDS Sustainability, 2014
SPEECH - High-Level Ministerial and Experts Workshop for scientists and policy makers in STI policy systems and governance for sustainable development and climate change resilience of Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) STI-for-SIDS Sustainability, 2014 - Wednesday 27 August 2014
Hon Madam Marie-Monique RASOAZANANERA, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Republic of Madagascar
Hon. Devanand Virahsawmy, , Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development
Members of the Diplomatic Corps
Dr Peggy Oti Boateng, UNESCO Senior Programme Specialist in Science & Technology
Mr Simon Springett, UN Resident Coordinator
The Secretary-General Mauritius National Commission for UNESCO
Ladies and Gentlemen
It is the pleasure of the Government of Mauritius through my Ministry and the Mauritius Research Council to facilitate this workshop for UNESCO. I wish to thank the UNESCO for having chosen Mauritius to host the workshop.
I have the pleasure to welcome in our midst the Hon Madam Marie-Monique RASOAZANANERA, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research from the Republic of Madagascar and the delegates from the Republic of Madagascar, the Republic of Seychelles and the Union of Comoros.
I understand that Hon. Rolph Payet, Minister of Environment and Energy, Republic of Seychelles could not attend this workshop, as he has recently been appointed as Executive Secretary of the Basl, Rotterdam and Stockholm Convention by the United Nations Secretary General. Let me convey, our congratulations to Hon. Payet, through Mrs. Nanette Laure, Director Environment Assessment and Permits Seychelles.
As we all know Small Islands Developing States face many challenges, which have been discussed in many conferencees and have culminated in the adoption of recommendations such as the Barbados Program of Action (Rio De Janeiro, 1994) and the Mauritius Strategy (2005). The forthcoming Third International Conference on SIDS in Samoa will further examine the economic, environmental and developmental challenges facing small island states.
My colleague, the Hon Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development has mentioned some of the initiatives that we are taking in Mauritius, namely the Maurice Ile Durable vision launched by the Prime Minister, Dr The Hon. Navinchandra Ramgoolam, in 2008. This forward looking vision rests on five pillars: Energy, Environment, Education, Employment and Equity.
Another vision of our Hon. Prime Minister is the development of an Ocean Economy. Mauritius has one of the largest Exclusive Economic Zones in the world spreading over 2 million square kilometers. A Road Map for the Ocean Economy has been developed and is based on 7 clusters: Marine Biotechnology, Marine Renewable Energy, Seabed Exploration for Hydrocarbons & Minerals, Fishing/Seafood Processing/Aquaculture, Marine Services, Seaport Related Activities and Ocean Knowledge and Deep Ocean Water Applications.
Whether it is the Ocean Economy or the Maurice Ile DurabIe vision, science and technology is cutting across through all these sectors. This is why we are here today to discuss science and technology capacity building and requirements in small island states.
As the Minister responsible for science and technology, I wish to share some views with you.
As small island states of the Indian Ocean region, we have to focus our attention on some fundamental questions, namely whether science and technology are being harnessed towards sustainable development issues, whether we have the required pool of scientists and researchers to address the sustainable development challenges, whether our countries possess the scientific infrastructure and laboratories to promote research in sustainable development and whether our system of science and technology governance responds to the needs of our countries.
The issues related to small island developing states are indeed complex and wide ranging. Policy formulation depends on the data available and assessment of trends. It is necessary for scientists and researchers to develop a better understanding of issues such as climatic change, water security, food security and environmental degradation. Research is essential for the development of strategies on land use, ocean management, atmosphere and water, nutrient and biogeochemical cycles and energy resources. Research on ecological processes with the use of remote-sensing devices, robotic monitoring instruments and computing and modelling capabilities need to be increased. Scientists should explore options for less intensive utilization of energy in industry, agriculture, and transportation.
We need to build the professional skills to undertake research in all these problems that face our countries. In fact, the Government of Mauritius is placing great emphasis on capacity building through increased access to higher education. Our higher education institutions have registered an increase in enrolment over the past years from 16% in 2001 to 50% in 2013. Access to our higher education institutions is open to international students, and 50 scholarships are offered to African students every year.
An IIT Research Academy has become operational in collaboration with the IIT Delhi. It will focus on research in engineering and science fields. As there has been much progress in scientific research on the applications of nanotechnology to water treatment, desalination, and reuse such as nanosorbents to decontaminate water among others, we are setting up a centre for nanotechnology. Work is also being undertaken to promote better understanding on the use of big data and cloud computing, which are important for business intelligence and analytics and to help secure a sustainable future.
In the context of the Maurice Ile Durable strategy, the integration of a sustainable development module in all higher education programmes is being considered. A Centre for tourism and sustainable development will also be set up.
Capacity building in science and technology is critical for small islands and we believe that our countries should pool resources together to create a network of scientists and researchers who would encourage and undertake research in sustainable development issues. With the support of international and regional agencies, namely the Indian Ocean Commission, a platform may be established for establishing priority research and capacity building, to support our respective countries.
This UNESCO workshop will no doubt help to identify research needs related to the challenges facing our islands as well as measures to address them. I understand that UNESCO will forward the recommendations of this workshop to the Third International Conference on SIDS which will be held from 1-4 September 2014 in Apia, Samoa. I thank UNESCO once again for the organization of this workshop in Mauritius.
On this note, I declare the workshop open.
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