Mauritian President Says Climate Change Poses Dangers to Island Nation

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President of the Republic of Mauritius Ameenah Gurib spoke at the Kennedy School in the US on Thursday about the growing Mauritian economy and the threat climate change poses to the island nation.

Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, President of the Republic of Mauritius, takes questions after her talk at the IOP.

Gurib detailed the country’s economic growth since it gained independence from Great Britain in 1968. She said the economy has grown and diversified consistently in recent decades.

“The Mauritian economy has diversified massively since independence when we were a mono-crop economy depending on 92 percent sugar in terms of the GDP and per capita income for everybody,” Gurib said. “It started from a very low base and through successive policy decisions, every decade we’ve seen transformation and diversification of the industry.”

Gurib mainly discussed science, technology, and the economies of various African countries during her talk at the John F. Kennedy Jr. forum. A scientist herself, Gurib earned her Ph.D. in organic chemistry at Exeter University in England.

Going forward, Gurib said she is concerned about the impact of rising sea levels and climate change to her country.

“Climate change will definitely impact access to water, and food security could be impacted as well,” Gurib said. “We are not polluters per se, but we need to make sure that we adapt fast… So yes, there is an issue in terms of the economic impact climate change will have.”

Gurib also spoke about Mauritians’ own concerns about climate change, as Mauritius runs the risk of losing land to rising sea levels. Gurib questioned whether Mauritius, as well as the rest of the world, is concerned enough about climate change, which many scientists have said can pose serious threats to humanity and wildlife.

“Are people worried across the world about climate change? Do we take it seriously enough?” Gurib said. “Unfortunately many policy makers don’t seem to take that seriously even though it’s there, we see it. We see for example freak seasons changing, desertification increasing, we see drought, we see flash floods… this is not an easy task because people tend to put that on the backburner, and yet it’s a burning issue.”

When asked about her thoughts on American politics, an amused Gurib declined to comment.

“Technically I can’t say… but I’m saying generally the science community has been raising the alarm for a long, long time,” she said.

Source: The Crimson