Press release

Seychelles emphasizes Commonwealth advocacy to make a difference in International Year of Small Island Developing States

March 31, 2014

The Seychelles delegation attending the Third Commonwealth Biennial Conference on Small States has emphasized the advocacy role that the Commonwealth must play to ensure that real results are achieved for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in the international year dedicated to them by the United Nations.

“The Commonwealth is ideally placed to play a lead role in transforming development perspectives for islands and small states in general.  But small states must also stand up and be counted.  Seychelles has sought to bring practical ideas to this conference to move the debate forward, and we are pleased that concepts such as a resilience index, debt for adaptation swaps and the Blue Economy have been recognized as essential to overcome the obstacles to affordable development financing”, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jean-Paul Adam remarked.

Minister of Finance, Trade and Investment, Pierre Laporte, also attended the conference and shared Seychelles experiences of economic reforms as a platform for reinstating sustainable finances.

“Seychelles record on economic reform shows that with the right focus and determination, small islands can radically transform their perspectives.  But we believe that more effort is needed to further facilitate the access of SIDS to better financing mechanisms that recognize their vulnerability to external shocks”, the minister stated.

During the meeting, the ministers also highlighted climate change as a key challenge that is inadequately addressed in the current development framework.

“Because of SIDS exclusion from many of the finances proposed for climate change adaptation due to GDP per capita criteria, funding for this adaptation remains a ‘glorious myth’ as far as islands are concerned. We have to address this issue with urgency.  We must also be innovative such as through debt for adaptation swaps that can further mobilize funding to fight climate change,” Minister Adam added.

The third biennial ended in St Lucia on 27 March 2014, with practical outcomes on debt, development and climate change.

The meeting was co hosted by the Government of St Lucia in celebration of the international year of SIDS, 2014. Participants were prime ministers, ministers and Senior government officials from 31 Commonwealth states with regional and international organizations and civil society. The meeting convened in St Lucia from 26 to 27 March 2014 to explore the theme ‘Building Resilience in Small States”. The meeting provided an platform to share experiences on practical policy approaches to build resilience and suitable economic growth. Following the 2 days of deliberations, presentations and exchanges of information, the meeting adopted the outcome document which outlines some practical areas (such as the vulnerability and resilience index) that need to be further developed at both national and international levels. The meeting agreed on key objectives to build political will to outcomes on building resilience in member states. A roadmap has been agreed over the coming 18months to focus the work of the secretariat to feed into the global process of the SIDS conference and the post 2015 development agenda.

The meeting also welcomed the proposal of Seychelles to host the next biennial meeting.