Message from President James Michel on Commonwealth Day 2014
10 March 2014 | Commonwealth
‘Team Commonwealth’: Empowering Seychelles As A Determined Island Nation
The Commonwealth aims to empower and improve the lives of all its citizens. This is the vision shared in the Commonwealth Charter, which we adopted last year, and to the formulation of which Seychelles was proud to contribute.
In this international year of Small Island Developing States, Seychelles celebrates its empowerment through the Commonwealth as a determined island nation.
The theme for the 2014 Commonwealth Day is 'Team Commonwealth'. This theme appropriately reflects and sets the tone for the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Glasgow to take place later on in the year (23 July 2014 to 3 August). We recall the joy and enthusiasm with which Seychelles celebrated the Queen’s Baton Relay from the 22-25 January 2014.
This theme also reminds us of how the Commonwealth family creates the framework for all its members to shine through its collective spirit.
The theme stresses the importance of teamwork and collaboration both within and between Commonwealth countries.
Seychelles is proud to have effectively used Commonwealth support in a consistent manner to build our national capacity since Independence. With the support of the Commonwealth, we have charted new territory in the establishment of the Extended Continental Shelf jointly managed with Mauritius. We also appreciate the support of the Commonwealth to undertake a Blue Economy needs assessment and practically put in place a number of the recommendations of our Blue Economy Summit held in Abu Dhabi. Likewise, we appreciate the Commonwealth’s support in capacity building, in good governance and in the strengthening of democratic institutions.
The Commonwealth remains one of the most committed organisations in supporting the voice of SIDS on the international scene. All members are regarded as equal and approach the “Team Commonwealth” as a family with shared values and aspirations.
I fully support the Secretary General’s message in highlighting the role of the Commonwealth as a space to “connect people” and to provide “Commonwealth spaces” for discussion and growth.
We hope to continue to illustrate this “teamwork” in Seychelles with our national theme for this year, which is “Seychelles – A Determined Island Nation”, situated within the international UN theme of the Year of Small island Developing States”.
Islands are connected with the global economy, and the planet’s ecosystem in many direct and tangible ways. Our successful development will depend on successful teamwork. With almost half of the Commonwealth member states being SIDS, we look forward to building the necessary support and cohesion for the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States in Samoa later this year.
One of the cornerstones of the Commonwealth remains its open dialogue that connects all the member states.
Following the last Commonwealth Heads of State and Government Meeting in Colombo, Sri Lanka, we look forward to pursing this dialogue, which seeks to empower all Commonwealth members.
We look forward to strengthening our combined activism on governance, human rights, democracy, sustainable development, the fight against climate change and the further empowerment of women and young people.
Seychelles is pleased, as a determined island nation, to once again celebrate Commonwealth day, and celebrate these values that bring our nations together.