EU pledges support for civil society


09-June-2009

   
Minister Lloyd addressing the gathering. Ambassador Delacroix is first on the right, front row

He was speaking at the launch of a new website hosted by the Liaison Unit of Non-governmental Organisations of Seychelles (Lungos), which is the umbrella body for civil society groups.

The website – www.civilsociety.sc – which contains a comprehensive directory of NGOs, will serve as a one-stop location to raise awareness of the role and activities of civil society in Seychelles.

The project has received support from the ninth European Development Fund through the capacity building project for state and non-state staff, and also from the United Nations Development Programme through its office in Mauritius and its local project coordinating unit.

The event, last Wednesday at the International Conference Centre in Victoria, was attended by cabinet ministers, government officials and members of civil society.

Mr Delacroix described civil society as the nation’s living force alongside the government.
He said during past conferences at international level, he has noticed a rise in the involvement of NGOs. This, he said, boosts the interaction and dialogue between governmental and civil society delegations.

Mr Delacroix said backing up the activities of the NGOs is one of the key principles of the EU.
He added that the chosen themes for the joint project between the EU and civil society groups in Seychelles – protecting the environment, good governance, economy and politics, communication and dialogue – are now key issues for the country, especially when the government is carrying out a very courageous reform programme.

“It is very important that the transition process is done in a climate of dialogue between the government and civil society,” he said.

Mr Delacroix said on behalf of the EU he wishes to see further growth and development in local civil society, especially in acquiring new resources such as the website. He also promised to develop existing contacts with local NGOs for future collaboration.

The French embassy will always be open to civil society, both in its national capacity and as the representative of the EU, he added.

Addressing the guests, Minister for Health and Social Development Marie-Pierre Lloyd described the work of civil society as an important component of human and economic development, good governance and the process of empowering people.

She described the website launch as another opportunity to urge our citizens to come closer together and to play an active part in consolidating structures and processes to strengthen our nation and empower our people.

Mrs Lloyd added that in its Strategy 2017, the government made it clear that all sectors of society will be encouraged to contribute to national economic growth.

“On behalf of the government, I reaffirm Seychelles’ commitment to the principles of sound economic management, investment in people and sustainable management of our environment as crucial elements of our development,” she said.

Lungos chairman Bernard Elizabeth said through the website the NGOs will receive the necessary visibility to make them more accessible to both their existing and potential local and international partners.

This, he said, will help them to have better and faster access to projects and also to give information about their objectives and activities.

Apart from the website, Lungos has also set up “thematic commissions” covering different sectors of civil society. These, said Mr Elizabeth, aim to strengthen the capacity of NGOs to engage in policy dialogue and to take part in decision-making as co-partners with state representatives.

The commissions group NGOs accredited to Lungos according to areas of common interest – environment and natural resources; faith-based organisations; gender; professional organisations; social and health; socio-economic; rights and good governance; and youth, culture and sports.

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