01 October 2018 | Foreign Affairs.
Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to welcome you all to this year’s Diplomatic Convention, and thank you for coming and your participation. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all the staff at the Department of Foreign Affairs and their associates that have worked tirelessly to make this event a success.
The discussions over the next few days have a key role to play in the promotion of Seychelles’ foreign policy, as we work together with a common vision for this unique country.
Each one of you has been given the privilege to promote, protect, and defend the interest and well-being of Seychelles. Thank you all for your efforts to bring Seychelles to the forefront and ensure it is recognised for what it is: a country of incredible beauty and remarkable potential.
Your hard work in enhancing bilateral relations, promoting the various sectors of our economy, and offering services to our citizens, are commendable and very much appreciated. An integral extension of the Department of Foreign Affairs, you are all instrumental to the success of our diplomatic engagements.
Over the years, Seychelles has seen major economic development, despite the challenges. Well-regarded as a success story, Seychelles remains vigilant and motivated to continue our progress. We will remain advocates for the cause of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), and continue to be at the forefront of all dialogue on climate change. We will also continue to promote the Blue Economy as a vital tool for sustainable development, for the benefit of both our current and future generation. We remain focused, committed and dedicated to fight for the continued advancement of the country.
Your efforts, contributions, and global networks have been invaluable to the progress of Seychelles across different spectrums. We count on your support – the support of each and every one of you – to seize every given opportunity to express Seychelles’ voice on these issues: the vulnerabilities of SIDS, the Blue Economy, climate change, and environmental conservation.
Amidst the ever-changing dynamics of the global sphere, it is critical that we re-strategise and develop innovative tools that will allow us to better navigate the international system. We strongly encourage continued discussions and engagements with key partners in your respective jurisdictions, particularly multilateral ones. We are confident that through such engagements, we will benefit from new insights and exciting avenues for further cooperation.
As the world evolves, so must we. In our determination to better address the needs and challenges of the current global system, the Department of Foreign Affairs went through a restructuring progress. The MFA Strategic Plan 2020 represents a modern, innovative approach to our Foreign Policy. Through this plan, there will be stronger focus on matters like maritime affairs, human rights, the cause of SIDS, security, and global diplomacy.
We also recently witnessed the inaugural meeting of the Seychelles Foreign Affairs Forum, which will allow us to benefit from the advisory expertise of different Seychellois nationals on the Foreign Policy of Seychelles. This new strategy is targeted at maximizing the resources we have to exploit the full potential of our local and overseas staff, allowing them to actively engage with and influence Seychellois Foreign Policy.
In line with these new priorities, the Seychellois diplomat will be given different opportunities to actively engage on the international scene; protect our national interests, enhance cooperation with key partners, and cement existing ties of friendship, whilst also maintaining our integrity, boosting our efficiency and enlarging our scope of work.
We welcome your input, proposals, support, and guidance for the successful execution of this ambitious plan.
Maritime security will remain at the top of our agenda. A secure maritime zone represents critical opportunities for the development of the Blue Economy, for trade, tourism, transportation and most importantly, for our livelihood. We must continue to rally our efforts to prevent maritime crimes and bring stability to our ocean.
We will also continue to advocate for the importance of the Blue Economy. This year we will participate in the 5th Our Ocean Conference in Indonesia and next year we will host our 3rd Blue Economy Summit during the Abu Dhabi Sustainability week. We are strongly encouraged by bilateral and multilateral partners who share this vision, because after all, the oceans are our shared heritage and we share a common responsibility to protect them.
The Sustainable Development Strategy is aligned with our long term national development strategy. The 2030 Agenda is our blueprint for action across all sectors and is an extraordinary opportunity for government to achieve sustainable development, working closely with key local stakeholders and tapping into available resources. This is what prompted the formation of the new unit at the Department of Foreign Affairs tasked with actively searching for and accessing existing global funds and financing mechanisms for the betterment of Seychelles.
The Government of Seychelles remains committed to the development of the Africa 2063 Strategy and as such we will continue to advocate for African solutions to African problems. It is high time that African nations are considered examples rather than excuses. We will continue to pursue people-centered development, with an emphasis on capacity building, economic growth, sustainable energy and technological innovation.
As a Small Island Developing State with a high income status, Seychelles will also continue to persevere in its efforts to address the various challenges faced by SIDS, particularly the recognition of a SIDS-specific Resilience Index, and access to funds for the implementation of the SAMOA Pathway.
After this convention and the fruitful deliberations to follow, you will hopefully return to your respective jurisdictions, even more determined to continue to support Seychelles.
Seychelles’ potential to be an influential force for the betterment of the world is great. We have shown this time and time again. Despite our small size we continue to defy expectations. The support of our diplomatic missions and Honorary Consuls, particularly for the advocacy of SIDS vulnerabilities and specificities, has a critical role to play.
As such, we consider you here as family. We are a strong united family, that will continue to work together and engage with one another for the benefit of all.
In 2020, when you return for the next diplomatic convention, your visit will coincide with the celebration of 250 years since the first settlers arrived on our islands. Let us work together to achieve successes that will mark this auspicious celebration as a truly memorable one.
I wish you all fruitful deliberations and of course, a wonderful stay in paradise.
I thank you.