Seychelles’ bid for non-permanent seat on the United Nations’ security council-Every voice counts, says Minister Adam


29-November-2012

Minister Adam

Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Paul Adam said this in the National Assembly on Tuesday after President James Michel originally made the announcement early in August.

Minister Adam reflected on the history of Seychelles, its developments and accomplishments throughout the years as well as the importance of seizing new opportunities at hand.

He explained that by submitting its candidature, Seychelles will be in a better position to defend and protect its sovereignty as a small island developing state (Sids). The minister highlighted three specific issues that were central to Seychelles’ candidature:

1. Maritime security re-enforcement for the development of the ‘blue economy’,
2. To assure peace and stability in the Indian Ocean region, and
3. To act more quickly and decisively against climate change
“Defending the interests of small island states is very important in the context of this candidature. Small island states are the guardians of what we have called the “blue economy”, that is all the potential that exist in our ocean, either for commerce or for the ocean’s resources,” said Minister Adam.

In his analysis of the piracy issue, the minister said there has been a reduction in the number of successful attacks, and that every Seychellois can be proud as Seychelles has played a key role in the adoption of effective strategies that have been implemented to reduce piracy in the region. 

The minister recalled the appeal made by President Michel to the international community, where several strategies were proposed to improve the fight against piracy.  Three of these core strategies have been adopted as key parts of the international effort against piracy after the London Conference on Somalia which took place in the United Kingdom:

1. The necessity to intensify support to stable regions within Somalia,
2. Intensify the capacity of regional coastal states including Seychelles to fight piracy and to enhance the ability to prosecute those captured in piracy acts and ensure a proper mechanism for those who are convicted to be transferred back to Somalia to  see out their sentence, and
3. To target those who finance piracy in any shape or form.
 Minister Adam noted that President Michel’s efforts to put in place "a strong and prosperous circle of islands" in the Indian Ocean was also a key component of Seychelles’ UN security council bid. He noted that it is for the same reason that Seychelles is using its position as chairman of the Indian Ocean Commission to contribute towards finding a solution in Madagascar.
 The minister said it is important for the world to give more attention to the Indian Ocean.

Minister Adam also explained that the candidature represents an opportunity for Seychelles to highlight the problem of climate change as a global security concern.  He noted that it is also important that Seychelles keeps working with all partners concerned to accelerate action on this issue.

The minister stated that the Seychelles campaign towards the UN security council candidature requires a regional approach in view that the election of non-permanent members is done on the basis of regional representation. At continental level therefore, Seychelles is actively seeking the support of the African Union.

“Seychelles presents itself as a responsible country that works hard and with efficiency. The government also makes a lot of effort to build a world that is just and where all countries’ level of development is taken into account. Our work in defending our sovereignty, enforcing our maritime security and fighting climate change as well as creating peace and stability in the region have been recognised by all,” said Minister Adam.

He continued: “The government of Seychelles feels that the Seychellois people need a stronger platform at global level, thus the decision for Seychelles to pursue its candidature to the UN security council. Every voice counts. Just because we are small, we should not hide ourselves. It is precisely because we are small, that we should stand tall and make our voice heard.”

Answering supplementary questions on this subject, the minister reassured the Assembly that the bid would not bring about huge increases in the government’s budget to support the process.

He explained that the initial campaign would simply be covered under this ministry’s existing budget. 

Nearer to the election, an increase in the travel budget has been envisaged as envoys would have to be sent out. 

If the bid is successful, then the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would need to increase the staff of the New York permanent mission by three persons and this would involve increasing costs.

In view of the increase in visibility for Seychelles, the ministry said this increase in cost is fully justified.

Minister Adam also answered a question by Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly, David Pierre, who said that following the request of an additional fund of R7.5 million for unforeseen visits in the supplementary budget, the UN security council bid would increase Seychelles’ involvement in expensive mediations such as the mediation on Madagascar.
 
The minister explained that during the debate on the supplementary budget, it appeared that only the question of the Madagascar mediation was raised, when in fact the sum of R7.5 million was to cover the cost of all the visits of 2012, including the visit of President Pratibha Patil of India where Seychelles benefited from a US $25 million grant, as well as the visit of Mauritian Prime Minister Navin Ramgoolam, and others. 

He explained that while Seychelles spent R3 million on the two mediation attempts on Madagascar, the holding of this conference brought many benefits to Seychelles, including through almost 100 additional people who also took part in the event and who were responsible for their own costs.
 The minister explained that the Ministry of Finance, Trade and Investment is conducting a study to see what benefits could go into the Seychelles economy with the hosting of conferences in the future.

On behalf of the Seychelles government, Minister Adam called on all partners in society at large, members of the National Assembly, all political parties, the private sector and civil society to work together on this campaign which is “for Seychelles as a whole and not for a particular group or organisation”.

The minister stated he is convinced that the Seychellois people have a lot to share with the world and this is what the security council’s bid is all about.

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