The Seychelles and the Australian governments are set to further deepen relations and increase cooperation, particularly on the issues of the development of small island states, following the visit of the Australian Parliamentary Secretary to the Pacific Island Affairs, Mr. Richard Marles, to Seychelles this week.
Mr. Marles, who was in Seychelles for a brief two-day working visit, met with Seychelles President Michel on Monday to discuss various avenues of cooperation that arose during President Michel’s State Visit to Australia and his attendance of the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in October.
“This visit reflects the exceptional and growing friendship with Australia,” said the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Jean-Paul Adam, “Globally we are working to bring SIDS [Small Island Developing States] issues further on the agenda, and piracy is one particular area where cooperation is growing.”
The issues discussed during the meeting were anchored in the fact that the two island states share an ocean and an ambitious vision for development; the key issues included the sharing of experiences, cooperation with the Indian Ocean Commission, and issues of sustainable development in the context of renewable energies, food security, and climate change.
“Australia is keen to do more with the Seychelles and in particular with the IOC which Seychelles now has Presidency of. Australia has extensive experience in the Pacific, which translates well in the Indian Ocean,” said Mr. Marles.
When discussing climate change, Mr. Marles described SIDS as being on the frontline and said it was important to use the story of small islands to garner global support from global emitters and to get appropriate adaptation funding.
Mr. Marles also took the opportunity to commend Seychelles in its efforts to develop the economy given the difficulties of sustainability. He added that Seychelles had many experience to be shared with other islands facing similar challenges.
Mr. Marles, who was accompanied by the Australian High Commissioner to Seychelles, Ms. Sandra Vegting, also announced a donation of 20,000 Australian dollars to develop a multi-purpose indoor sports facility as part of the Australian Sports Diplomacy initiative.
During the brief visit, the Australian Parliamentary Secretary also met with Seychelles Vice President Danny Faure after which he hosted a reception for ten Seychellois recipients of a cross-Africa competitive post-graduate scholarship scheme.