Press release

Minister says that Civil Society pivotal to development at the African Union ECOSOCC sensitisation programme

September 19, 2014

In his opening remarks at the sensitisation programme on the Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC) of the African Union (AU) election process, Minister For Foreign Affairs, Jean-Paul Adam remarked that in Seychelles, a key prerogative of the government was to place people at the centre of development. He was confident that ECOSOCC was the right vehicle to bring an unparalleled platform for citizen engagement at a continental level.

Speaking at the CARE building in Victoria, Minister Adam spoke of Seychelles’ role within the African Union context of integration and development. He noted that as an African Small Island Developing State, with limited natural resources it is essential that the main focus be on human resources to drive development.

“A key component of this transformation is thus to build a Union that is people-oriented; to have a Union that recognises the wealth of human and institutional resources at the grassroots level; a Union that is responsive to the calls for democracy and sustainable development from its civil society institutions,” remarked Minister Adam.

ECOSOCC was formed in order to provide civil society organisations a means to harmonise their work with the AU so as to play an active role in the programmes and policies of the AU that facilitates grassroots contact.

In his speech the Minister highlighted the importance of civil society in Seychelles as a critical partner in development. Minister Adam further noted the pivotal role that the Liason Unit of Non-governmtal Organisations (LUNGOS) has played in spearheading effective civil society engagement, to complement the work of government. “The government and civil society helps us build a stronger and more resilient nation” he remarked the Minster.

Minister Adam encouraged civiParagral society organisations to apply for membership to the Second General Assembly and contribute to the work of the AU. He noted that this would complement Seychelles’ work ensuring that the unique specificities of African island nations are addressed.

“Our Blue Economy is also about Africa’s transformation through Agenda 2063- whereby Africa can reclaim its oceans. We need more civil society engagement in Africa to ensure that more of the benefits of Africa’s oceans benefit Africans” remarked Minister Adam.

In his closing remarks Minister Adam thanked His Excellency Ambassador Lazarus Kapambwe and his delegation for their presence in Seychelles and hoped that the programme is successful culminating in Seychelles’ representation in the Second General Assembly of ECOSOCC. Minister Adam also noted with pride that Mr Steve Lalande, Chief Executive Officer of LUNGOS was elected Chairperson of the Trade and Industry Cluster of ECOSOCC.