Secretary-General Patricia Scotland will pay her first official visit to the island nation of Seychelles this week, signalling the Commonwealth’s continued interest in being a voice for small states.
Key issues such as trade, innovation, the blue economy, women, youth, and climate change will be top of the agenda when the Secretary-General arrives in the capital city Victoria on Thursday 28 June.
The Secretary-General will meet with Seychelles’ President Danny Faure, Vice-President Vincent Meriton, Speaker of the National assembly Nicholas Prea, various government ministers, and other members of parliament to discuss ways to deepen cooperation.
“With small states constituting over 60 per cent of our membership, the Commonwealth has always been a strong advocate for the causes of small states, including Seychelles, and has consistently raised international awareness of their inherent vulnerabilities,” said the Secretary-General, who will also be the guest of honour at celebrations of the 42nd anniversary of Seychelles’ independence.
“Indeed, as a champion of small states, we have long been at the forefront of policy research and global advocacy to build resilience and support sustainable development and economic growth,” she stated.
During the visit, Secretary-General Scotland will launch a pioneering report on the economic cost of violence against women and girls in Seychelles. Using an innovative economy-wide model, the report reveals the real costs of violence to the Seychelles economy (more than US$65 million annually), while supporting effective policies to address gender equality.
The visit will also include a handover ceremony reaffirming Commonwealth support to Seychelles in building the local blue economy. The Blue Economy Strategic Roadmap, to be launched later in the year, was developed with Commonwealth technical assistance and charts directions for future investment and transition to a vibrant and sustainable ocean-based economy.
Following her visit to Seychelles, the Secretary-General will travel to Mauritius on 1 July.