Seychelles flag flies high on global island stage
Seychelles has been elected to the Bureau of the Preparatory Committee for the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in New York which will be held in Samoa this September.
The election took place at the United Nations in New York last week, minutes after Seychelles’ Ambassador for Climate Change and SIDS Issues, Mr Ronny Jumeau, had presided as the Master of Ceremony at the Global Launch of the International Year of Small Island Developing States (IYSIDS).
Ambassador Jumeau, who will represent Seychelles on the SIDS conference bureau, has also been selected by the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) as one of its three Island Champions for the IYSIDS, and was last week re-elected to a second term as the Chair of the Steering Committee of the Global Island Partnership (GLISPA).
Seychelles joins fellow SIDS Barbados, Mauritius and Samoa alongside Japan, Mexico, Romania, Spain and Ukraine on the bureau which is co-chaired by New Zealand and Singapore.
Other members of the Seychelles delegation at the meeting, which was preceded by the launch of the International year for SIDS, were Ambassador Marie-Louise Potter, Seychelles’ Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Mr Didier Dogley, Special Advisor to the Minister for Environment and Energy, Mr Selby Pillay, Minister Counsellor in the Seychelles mission, and Ms Rebecca Loustau-Lalanne, First Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
As Master of Ceremony of the global launch of the IYSIDS, which was webcast over the Internet, Ambassador Jumeau presided over speeches by the President of the United Nations General Assembly, the UN Secretary-General, the Secretary-General of the SIDS conference, the President of Nauru, who is the Chair of AOSIS, the Prime Minister of Samoa who will host the SIDS conference, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Barbados, where the first SIDS conference was held in 1994.
Mr Jumeau noted in his introductory remarks that this is the first time the United Nations has dedicated an international year to a specific group of countries.
“I hail from one of the SIDS,” Ambassador Jumeau said, “and can attest first hand to not only the many challenges we face, but also our many wonderful aspects that make us so special in the eyes of so many, and our many achievements, often against great odds.”
The speeches were followed by cultural performances from Antigua and Barbuda, Cape Verde and Kiribati representing the various regions of the SIDS.
As an AOSIS Island Champion during the international year, Mr Jumeau will represent the Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean and South China Sea (AIMS) region which comprises Cape Verde, Comoros, Guinea Bissau, Maldives, Mauritius, Singapore and Seychelles.
The Island Champion for the Caribbean is the Permanent Representative of Barbados to the UN while his counterpart from the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) will represent the Pacific.
Ambassador Jumeau was the first-ever Chair of the GLISPA Steering Committee when he was elected to his first term last year. His re-election is for two years with Ambassador Caleb Otto, the Permanent Representative of Palau to the UN, as his Vice-Chair. Their election took place at the annual meetings of the GLISPA steering and executive committees in Washington DC last month
GLISPA is led at the heads of state and government level by three co-chairs: President James Michel of Seychelles for the Indian Ocean region, President Tommy Remengasau of Palau for the Pacific, and Prime Minister Keith Mitchell of Grenada for the Caribbean.