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Last Updated: 08/25/2003Small is Beautiful and Dedicated to Peace
Tex Albert reports on the SIPAI, Small Island Peace Action Initiative.
“What we do with respect to small islands has implications far beyond their troubled shores. By working with small islands on their problems, we can find solutions for ours. Brighter horizons for small islands can mean brighter horizons for the world, in general.”
United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan
CEFRAD – SEYCHELLES, PEACE INITIATIVE TO CONSOLIDATE NETWORK OF SMALL ISLAND DEVELOPING STATES (SIDS)!
The Centre for Rights and Development (CEFRAD)- Seychelles, has launched the Small Islands Peace Action Initiative (SIPAI), last June ‘03.
CEFRAD is a non-governmental organisation registered since November 1998 under the Associations Act of Seychelles. It is currently presided by Mathew A. Servina. The organisation is a civil society focal point of the UNESCO Small Islands Voice (SIV) project. CEFRAD has also published ‘On the Road to Democracy – Peace, Harmony and Hope: 25 years of Independence – In Search of a People’s Vision’ as well as ‘An Introduction to Human Rights’.
As we, the peoples of the small island states, prepare for the ten-year review of the Barbados Plan of Action (BPOA), to be held in 2004, it is imperative that we evolve a coherent, in-depth and concerted approach towards sustainable development that will ensure a viable future.
The ‘Small Islands Peace Action Initiative’ is as much an effort to mobilise the peoples of the small island states to promote a culture of peace and non-violence in our respective society as to enable them to make an effective contribution towards the global desire for peaceful resolution of conflicts. This is very much in the spirit of the ongoing UN declared International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-violence for the Children of the World (2001-2010).
Moreover, it must be noted that in a lecture delivered last 25th July ’03, on the occasion of the 25th Anniversary of the Central Bank of Seychelles, Mr Winston Cox, Deputy Secretary General of the Commonwealth Secretariat, urged Seychelles not to become isolated on trade matters. Mr Cox advised that this country should keep close to those who are pushing for special differential treatment for small island states.
In fact, despite limited resources, Seychelles has been making valuable input to facilitate the effective collaboration of the Small Island Developing States (SIDS). In July 1998, the country was the host for the African Small Island Developing States Ministerial Meeting from which the eight members issued the Mahé Declaration and Programme of Action.
This most recent initiative of CEFRAD is undoubtedly another important contribution from Seychelles to the endeavour to develop closer links among the small island developing states (SIDS) as they lobby for differential treatment in the global economy.
More information about CEFRAD and the SIPAI concept paper is available online at www.SeychellesConference.org
Note that of the nearly twenty countries in the world without a military, most are small islands.
Tex Albert is International Coordinator SIPAI-CEFRAD, Seychelles. He can be contacted at: SIPAI-CEFRAD@seychellesconference.org