The Seychelles’ Presidency of the Indian Ocean Commission will focus on advancing the relationships and standing of the organization, strengthening the unified voice of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), and encouraging peace and stability in the Indian Ocean region.
Following the IOC meetings held in Mauritius last week, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and current President of the IOC Council of Ministers, Mr. Jean-Paul Adam, has outlined Seychelles’ vision for the COI at a special press conference held today at the Ministry headquarters.
“Under Seychelles’ leadership, the IOC will continue working towards strengthening the voice and presence of small island states,” said the Minister, “Our strength is our solidarity.”
The Minister explained that Seychelles would remain committed to the good work done by Mauritius, as the outgoing president, in its efforts to facilitate the implementation of the road map to peace and reconciliation in Madagascar through the formation of a government of national unity and the holding of democratic elections next year.
Minister Adam also highlighted that priority areas for the IOC in the coming year will be to expand its relationships with other international organizations, solidifying its presence and participation with them as one of the key vehicles for the advancement of SIDS issues. One such initiative will be the COI application for observer status within the African Union.
Three projects being undertaken by the COI, which are of particular importance for Seychelles, are the establishment of a maritime corridor to facilitate trade and commerce in the Indian Ocean, a Regional Anti-Piracy Cell based in Seychelles for training and capacity building of prosecutors and police, among others, plus a Shark Monitoring Project based in La Reunion to study the migratory trends of sharks and their evolving behavior.
“These are very important initiatives for the Seychellois people, given our recent challenges with pirates and sharks and the fact that one of the government’s priorities is to reduce the cost of living for every Seychellois, which facilitating regional trade will undoubtedly do,” said the Minister.
He added that being selected to host the piracy cell reflects the expertise that Seychelles has developed over the past few years in quickly adapting and rising to the difficulties of maritime piracy.
Following the conclusion of the meeting in Mauritius, the Minister took the opportunity to meet with resident partners of Seychelles and the IOC to brief them of his 12-month plan for the Seychelles Presidency.
Minister Adam and Technical Advisor Mrs. Jeanette D’Offay met with the Australian High Commissioner, Ms. Sandra Vegting; the US Charge D’Affaires, Mr. Troy Fitrell; and the Head of Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Mauritius for the Union of the Comoros and the Republic of Seychelles, Ambassador Alessandro Mariani.