Solidarity Amongst Indian Ocean Island States at African Union Summit
The Foreign Ministers of the Indian Ocean Commission member states have met today in the margins of the African Union Executive Council gathering in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to consolidate positions on issues relating to the region.
The Ministers, which included Seychelles Foreign Minister Jean-Paul Adam, Minister Arvin Boolell of Mauritius, Minister Mohammed Bakri of Comoros, along with Ambassador Richard Setilahy of Madagascar, said they were encouraged by the efforts of the African Union and its Chairperson Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma in their efforts to recognise the specificities of Small Island Developing States, their inherent vulnerabilities, and the importance of maritime resources to African growth.
Minister Adam applauded the solidarity of the group on key issues relating to the Indian Ocean states:
“We now have a real voice among island states within the African Union and I am confident that, together as a group, along with other maritime nations of Africa, have immense contributions that we can offer Africa in terms of untapped oceanic potential for development.”
The Minister added that Seychelles was committed to collaborating with its partners in promoting the benefits of the Blue Economy.
During this gathering the issue of Madagascar was also discussed and the Ministers expressed their commitment to the people of Madagascar during the on-going crisis and their collective wish for free and fair elections. The Ministers also agreed that everything should be done to ensure the elections can take place according to the agreed timetable.
Minister Adam has also participated in a special breakfast lecture by Professor Jeffery Sachs, Special Advisor to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and Director of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, on Africa’s engagement with the Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs), a concept adopted during Rio+ 20 as development goals to be adopted post-2015, when the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) deadline is reached.
During his presentation, Professor Sachs made special mention of the islands of Africa being most at risk to development challenges such as Climate Change and expressed his desire to work with governments, local universities and institution in ensuring that all development gains can be built on.
Minister Adam is currently attending the African Union Executive Council meeting, which has brought together Africa’s Foreign Ministers ahead of the 21st African Union Summit, which is being held on the 25th May as African states celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Organisation of African Unity/African Union.