Commonwealth Day Message from President Wavel Ramkalawan
07 March 2021 | Foreign Affairs
As is customary every year on the second Monday of the month of March, Seychelles joins 53 other nations in Africa, Asia, the Americas, Europe and the Pacificto celebrate Commonwealth Day. The commemoration of Commonwealth Day affords us the opportunity to take stock of our achievements and contributions, and the challenges we have overcome, and that we are yet to overcome, as a community of nations, respectful of our diversity and heritage, yet united in the values that we share.
Thirty-two of our members are classified as small states. The Commonwealth has always stood out as a multilateral organisation that has given Small Island Developing States (SIDS), such as Seychelles, a platform to voice out their concerns, challenges and their inherent vulnerabilities. The unique configuration of the membership of the Commonwealth, which comprises some of the world’s biggest, smallest, richest and poorest countries, ambitions to ensure a truly level playing field where all members have an equal say in shaping the organisation.
With 33 per cent of the ocean surrounding it designated, by law, as Marine Protected Areas, Seychelles has distinguished itself as the foremost advocate of the Commonwealth’s Blue Charter. This stems from our conviction that conserving our marine resources today ensures their survival and sustainable management and exploitation tomorrow, guaranteeing our food security and that of future generations. Likewise, our consistent and relentless advocacy for the cause of Small Island Developing States remains unparalleled. We recognise and appreciate the Commonwealth’s drive to place issues such as these at the forefront of our sustainable development agenda.
The theme for this year’s Commonwealth Day is 'Delivering a Common Future'. It addresses some of the most critical issues facing us, including climate change, promoting good governance and enhancing intra-Commonwealth trade and cooperation. The collective determination to deliver the Commonwealth’s vision for a common future has never been stronger as we approach the 26th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) due to take place in June 2021, in Kigali, Rwanda. We are at a critical juncture where Heads will need to chart the way forward towards realising the SDG goals, especially in this ‘new normal’.
Looking forward, we find ourselves at a crossroads where the global COVID-19 pandemic has radically transformed our way of life, in all its aspects. This unprecedented crisis has presented numerous socio-economic and other challenges which continue to impose severe constraints on us all, on all nations, and has compelled us to adapt to a new reality, not by choice but by necessity. They are, however, not insurmountable! We remain hopeful that, through our active engagement with other partners, not least within the Commonwealth, we can and we shall overcome these challenges.
I wish you all a happy Commonwealth Day!!