The Foreign Ministers of the Island States of the African Union met within the margins of the on-going 28th Executive Council of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to consolidate the position of the islands on the African Union programme of work.
The Ministers of Seychelles, Cabo Verde, Sao Tomé and Principé and the representatives of Madagascar and Mauritius discussed numerous issues of importance, which included the implementation of Agenda 2063, the SAMOA Pathway, the decisions of COP-21 and the fight against climate change, and the management of African seas and oceans – namely the Blue Economy.
“It is important that this informal group keep our positions aligned on these important issues for the benefit of our people, and speak with one voice,” said the Seychelles Minister for Foreign Affairs and Transport, Mr. Joël Morgan
“We are not many [islands] on the continent and we are spread on both sides of the continent so we always strive to ensure that we make the most of all opportunities to meet. We have learnt from past experience that we are stronger together.”
During this session, Seychelles also ceded the Chairmanship of this group to the Foreign Minister of Cabo Verde, Mr. Jorge Tolentino, for the year 2016.
Minister Tolentino made a proposal for the group to engage in deeper discussions on the issues faced by African island states in a more formal setting in the future, and invited his fellow Ministers to attend a stand alone meeting for African islands in Cabo Verde in June 2016.
Other issues discussed included the need for a renewed commitment to the adoption of renewable energy sources over fossil fuels, the rise of natural disasters experienced on the continent, and the candidatures of the island states in key organisations and committees.
The Seychelles delegation, led by Minister Morgan, is currently in Addis Ababa attending the 26th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union, and includes the Permanent Representative to the African Union, Amb. Joseph Nourrice, the Principal Counsellor in the Seychelles Embassy in Addis Ababa, Mrs. Amanda Bernstein, Third Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Transport, Ms. Lorraine Faure, and the Consultant to the Minister, Mr. Raymond St Ange.