Press release

Seychelles chairs the Second Commonwealth Open-Ended Ministerial Working Group meeting on Small States in New York

September 2, 2014

Ambassador Ronald Jumeau represented Minister for Forieng Affairs Jean-Paul Adam, chairman of the Commonwealth Open Ended Ministerial Working Group (OEMWG) which met for the second time in New York on the 30 June to deliberate further on issues of small states, following the final Preparatory Committee meeting for Samoa (Third UN Conference on Small Island Developing States to be held in Samoa, 1-4 September 2014)

The open ended working group had been constituted following a decision of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) held in Colombo in 2013, and its mandate approved at its first meeting in St Lucia on the 25 March 2014 on the eve of the Third Biennial Commonwealth Meeting on Small States also held in St Lucia. The group comprises of the following Commonwealth countries; Jamaica, Maldives, Malta, Lesotho, Samoa, Sri Lanka, St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Lucia, and Namibia. The second meeting also had the participation of Brunei Darussalam, New Zealand and Vanuatu.

The working group aims to develop pragmatic talking points and solutions from the perspective of the Commonwealth that can be taken up at key international development conferences leading up to the post 2015 development agenda.

The open-ended working group has agreed to 5 priority areas that will constitute key messages for the group to take forward in the upcoming international discussions of the post 2015 development agenda and the third conference on small island developing states (SIDS) to take place in Samoa in September.

The groups reviewed 6 policy briefs and provided concrete feedback and action-oriented timelines for the following flagged intervention areas, which will be submitted to the Ministers for their consideration for further action;


  • 1.      Climate Resilience in Small States;
  • 2.      The Post-2015 Agenda Financing Framework and Key Issues for Small States;
  • 3.      G20 Outreach, the challenges and opportunities for Small States;
  • 4.      Ocean Governance: Key Challenges facing SIDS/Small States;
  • 5.      Resilience,
  • 6.      Key Challenges facing SIDS/Small States in multilateral and regional trade


The group has defined its work modalities for the period July 2014 to September 2015.

The meeting was facilitated by the Commonwealth Secretariat; Ms Janet Strachan, Adviser & Head of Small States, Environment & Economic Management, and Dr Denny Lewis-Bynoe, Economic Adviser, Ambassadors and senior officials from Brunei Darussalam, Maldives, Malta, Lesotho, Sri Lanka, St Lucia, and Namibia. The next meeting of this group is planned for September 2014 on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly to be held in New York, as well as on the eve of the Commonwealth Foreign Affairs Ministers Meeting (CFAMM) which will be held in New York.