On a special day like this – Commonwealth Day 2017, where the Commonwealth society is celebrating its progress and impact, President Danny Faure sends a message to the Commonwealth Community. Today Seychelles joins its Commonwealth family in celebrating a unique bond of friendship and diversity offered by our association of 52 independent states. This bond is further exemplified by our common desire for peace, security and the betterment of the lives of all our peoples. This free association of states provides us with one key lesson, which is much can be achieved through peace, reconciliation and a common goal for a stable future.
In fact, this lesson resonates with the the theme adopted for this year’s Commonwealth Day celebrations- “A Peace-building Commonwealth”. For us here in Seychelles, this theme is even more pertinent, as we embark on a process of bringing our people closer together by confronting the past which would enable us to forge on a more unified future.
This year’s theme must be more than just a theme and fully practiced in our homes, communities and nations. The peace building process must permeate every aspect of our diverse societies to ensure an equitable future for all.
Today we also honour the critical role that the Commonwealth continues to play in the development of our country, and its paramount importance as an organisation whose member nations share common values and principles.
It is that commonality that enables us to share experiences and expertise for the betterment of each individual member nation and its people. Seychelles is pleased to have been able to share its experiences in our areas of strength, and even more so, grateful for the assistance and knowledge that has been shared with us in areas where we lacked capacity.
Commonwealth Day is also a time for members of the Commonwealth family to reflect on how to better address the many global challenges which require common solutions. The dynamics of the world we live in has become more complex and the issues that we are now dealing with transcend sovereign boundaries.
The world economic situation, climate change, terrorism, and diseases are a few of the current global challenges which necessitate a coordinated approach and we are proud of our membership to a group of like-minded countries who are willing to work together towards a common goal of eradicating these existential threats.
With the majority of its members being small states, many of which are islands, the Commonwealth is one of the few international organizations that continue to champion the cause of Small Island Developing States.
In the case of Seychelles, our categorization as a high income country based on our relatively high GDP per capita, while a source of pride for our achievements, brings us new challenges that may impede on our continued progress. We will continue our advocacy, through the Commonwealth, for the consideration of introducing a vulnerability criterion to enable SIDS to access concessionary loans and thus ensuring that we can continue to provide the best for our people.
We also endeavor to continue, at the local level and at international fora, to stress our support for the Commonwealth’s primary focus of promoting peace, democracy, good governance, human rights and the rule of law. Our strong engagement in this process is further reflected in the efforts being invested nationally especially in promoting human rights.
Seychelles is proud to be a longstanding member of the Commonwealth and fervently believes in the spirit of commonwealth – that of toiling together so that we can reap the benefits.
By joining other countries around the world in marking Commonwealth Day, we are paying tribute to the strong partnership among Commonwealth members that is vital to our future- a common future with prosperity for all.