Small states can be the architects of a culture of cooperation in a ‘global community’
Small Island States such as Seychelles can play a pivotal role in building a global community and are often well placed as consensus builders. This was the key message pronounced by Minister Jean Paul Adam, Minister for Foreign Affairs at the Annual Conference for the Institute of Cultural DIplomacy being held in Berlin. In his remarks Minister Adam spoke about the various challenges faced by small states in a global community where the perception that ‘the large and powerful set the rules and the weak and small follow’ often prevails.
The Minister noted however that smaller nations formed a majority of UN states and could build on concepts such as cultural diplomacy to make a difference in the major questions of our age.
Speaking at the conference where different lectures and discussions focusing on Cultural diplomacy is taking place,Minister Adam explained how small states and especially SIDS have been instrumental in climate change discussions as well as how they can provide models of how the principles of shared resources can be actualised. Giving the example of the joint management of the EEZ between Seychelles and Mauritius as well as the partnerships Seychelles has forged in the fight against piracy, Minister Adam illustrated how small island states such as Seychelles are often the biggest investors in building the spirit of a global community. “While seychelles geostrategic position may make it a country that many wish to influence in terms of maritime security-its openness and its principles of not favouring the interests of one partner above another means that despite its small size, Seychelles is able to leverage support for wide-ranging maritime security initiatives.”
“This example of resource and revenue sharing between two island countries, is one which is in many ways harder for large countries to imagine-but for which it is easier for smaller states to finalise practical agreements for mutual benefit,” Minister Adam explained.
In his intervention Minister Adam also focused on how Small Island nations can serve as ‘the voice of conscience’ on what needs to be done when it comes to issues such as climate change. “While the road to a binding agreement remains fraught with uncertainty-representatives of island states continue to speak with one voice on the issue.” Speaking on the challenges of reaching a binding agreement on climate change, Minister Adam highlighted the strength of the collective voices of small island nations as providing a building block that will strengthen the sense of a global community.
The Minister’s intervention also emphasised the role that Seychelles could play as a small state engaged towards the ideals of the UN in relation to its bid to serve on the UN Security Council for the period 2017-2018.
The conference has taken place over 4 days, 18th-21st December 2013 and was held under the theme “cultural Diplomacy and Cross Continental Cooperation: Building bridges for a united global community”.
During the Conference, Minister Adam was also invited as a panellist to address the serious concerns regarding the ongoing crisis in Syria. The Minister stated that Seychelles was fully supportive of efforts around the planned Geneva conference in January 2014 and also that the focus should be cessation of hostilities to allow space for a political solution. Minister Adam also stressed the importance of giving attention to the regional issues relating to the crisis and highlighted experiences in Africa where the crisis in Libya then led to a proliferation of weapons in many fragile areas, and has also contributed to the instability in Mali and elsewhere on the continent.
During the conference, Minister Jean Paul Adam also had the opportunity to meet with the Board of Advisors of the ICD to discuss various projects of interest of both the ICD and Seychelles.
The ICD has subsequently announced that it’s first conference in Africa will be held
One such project will be held in Seychelles from 4th-7th February next year. The congress will be part of the ICD Experience Africa programme, which is under the patronage of Sir James Mancham, who is also a member of the ICD Advisory Board. Some of the key focuses of the congress will include tourism, renewable energy and blue economy as economic drivers for the future and development of Africa. The congress will feature key invitees and speakers from various spheres and different corners of the world as well as a window for many prominent Seychellois speaker, to reflect and exchange ideas on the future of the economic development of Africa through various perspectives including through the ideals of cultural diplomacy.
>The Institute for Cultural DIplomacy (ICD)founded in 1999, is an international, not-for-profit, non-governmental organisation with Headquarters in Berlin,Germany.
>The ICD’s ultimate goal is to promote global peace and stability by strengthening and supporting inter cultural relations at all levels.
>Please view website for information http://www.culturaldiplomacy.org/