Address by the Foreign Minister of Seychelles, H.E. Sylvestre Radegonde, to the assembled diplomats accredited to Seychelles and government officials of the state, on Feb 17th, 2023.
Multipolarity – Seychelles’ Place in the Emerging World Order
“It is with great pleasure that I welcome you all this evening to our annual
diplomatic reception. It is the occasion for me, on behalf of the President
and the Government of Seychelles, to express our gratitude to the
diplomatic corps for the partnership between the nations and institutions
that they represent, and also the occasion for us all to reaffirm our shared
commitments and the values that we share.

I want to talk to you on “Multipolarity: Seychelles’ Place in the
Emerging World Order.”

A profound systemic change is happening. We are facing a rapidly
changing global landscape, a shift away from so-called established poles of
centric power, might, influence and rivalry to a new system of relations
between states. Of course, “a new world order” is a highly debated and
controversial topic, with different interpretations and connotations
depending on political, cultural and ideological perspectives. Be it as it may,
advances in technology and communication, shifts in the political and
economic landscape, the rise of globalisation and interconnectedness are
all playing a role in shaping this emerging new world order.
Our position on this issue is unequivocal: we reject any order, by whichever
designation, based on force, coercion and threats, and on the
advancement of the sole interests and values of a few…
We believe that a more equitable and sustainable world order should be
based on cooperation, dialogue, solidarity, respect for the sovereignty of
nations and the rights of individual nations and individuals.
Above all, the emerging multipolar world order must be based on the
United Nations Charter, and grounded on respect for international law, the
right to peace and security, the protection of human rights, the
development of friendly relations among nations, and the universally-
accepted principles of democracy, the rule of law, equality, and human
rights. Such a world order would require the commitment of all nations to
work towards common goals, and to abide by the rules and norms in
accordance with the principles outlined in the Charter.

This is the new world order that Seychelles aspires to. Together with like-
minded nations – and there are many of us – we shall continue to work
towards that goal.
As this architecture continues to evolve and affirm itself, it is important to
understand the place of Seychelles in this new emerging world order.
The principles that guide Seychelles’ foreign policy are of capital
importance to the nation, and they reflect the values, culture, aspirations
and principles of our people. And Seychelles is committed to never
compromising on its principles, despite the challenges that we face. This
commitment is reflected in our actions and decisions, as well as in our
engagement with the international community. We are determined to
maintain our independence and to promote our interests, even in the face
of challenges and opposition.
Our foreign policy is simple and clear:
One of its key pillars is the promotion of stability and security in the region.
Seychelles has a long-standing commitment to regional peace and stability,
and we work closely with our neighbours and regional organisations to
prevent conflict and promote security. Seychelles has played a key role in
mediating conflicts in the past.
The country has hosted peace negotiations between warring factions and
has used its diplomatic skills to help resolve disputes between
neighbouring countries.
Stability and security are preconditions for our prosperity and livelihoods.
Piracy in our waters and in the area around the coast of Somalia posed a
grave threat to us. As a result of concerted efforts and international
collaboration, this threat has abated. But issues such as transnational
crime, in all its forms, and illegal and unreported fishing remain of grave
concern to us. We continue to address these threats.
As a peace-loving nation and as an active proponent of peace among
nations, Seychelles has been proactive in promoting disarmament and non-
proliferation, and has played an active role in the international community in
efforts to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction.

In terms of economic development, Seychelles is all too aware of the
importance of foreign investment, and has established a business-friendly
environment to attract investors. The country has signed several free trade
agreements and has worked to create a stable macroeconomic
environment to encourage investment in key sectors of the economy, not
least in tourism and fishing. Seychelles has also been proactive in
promoting tourism as a key driver of economic growth, leveraging our
natural assets to attract visitors from around the world.
Another key aspect of our foreign policy is characterised by an abiding
commitment to environmental protection and sustainable development.
Seychelles is one of the smallest countries in the world, but it is also one of
the most biodiverse. We recognise the importance of preserving this
precious natural heritage and work to promote sustainable development
and environmental protection both at home and abroad.
It is in the same context that we embraced the concept of the Blue
Economy as a means of promoting economic growth and diversification
while also preserving the country’s unique marine environment and
resources for future generations.
One of the main vulnerabilities of Small Island Developing States is our
exposure to the impacts of climate change, including rising sea levels,
more intense and frequent natural disasters, and changing weather
patterns that can disrupt agriculture and fishing. These impacts can
undermine the very survival of some small island states and pose a threat
to the well-being of their populations.
In addition, SIDS often lack the resources and infrastructure to respond
effectively to natural disasters and humanitarian crises, making them highly
dependent on foreign aid and assistance. This can leave them vulnerable
to external influence and undermine their sovereignty and independence.
That is why a key feature of our foreign policy is our forceful and consistent
advocacy for the global adoption of a Muti-Dimensional Vulnerability Index.
Notwithstanding our efforts, our key partners, the real decision-makers, are
not yet ready to give it the consideration the MDVI merits. But we shall
keep pushing for it. Hopefully, someday, the message will get through!

Finally, yet another pillar of Seychelles’ foreign policy is the protection of its
sovereignty and independence. Seychelles is a proud and independent
nation, and it is committed to maintaining its independence and protecting
its national interests. This pillar is critical to Seychelles ability to determine
its own future and to pursue its national goals and objectives.

With the emerging world order, we are seeing a shift towards multipolarity,
with multiple powers vying for influence and power. Not least in our own
region, which is becoming a major theatre of economic and strategic
power. This is changing the traditional relationships between states, and
creating new opportunities and challenges for Small Island Developing
States like Seychelles. Despite its small size, Seychelles has been
proactive in engaging with the international community, building and
reinforcing relationships with major powers, and participating in regional
organisations to promote stability, peace, cooperation and security in the
region. In many instances, we had been punching above our weight!
I am glad to have had the opportunity to address you tonight on some of
the main features of the foreign policy of Seychelles, on how we see the
emerging new world order and Seychelles’ place in it.”

“Members of the Consular Corps

Distinguished guests

Fellow Seychellois

It is with great pleasure that I welcome you all to this reception celebrating the

National Day of Seychelles, which was on the 29th of June, and which also

coincides with the forty-seventh anniversary of the independence of our country.

On the outset allow me to thank all those, who have in a way, or another assisted

to make tonight possible. In particular I wish to express my gratitude to Shane

Hensinger, the Honorary Consul of Seychelles in California, for his tireless effort to

bring us all together, here at the Fairmont in San Francisco. You have been a great

friend to Seychelles, and we deeply value your service to our country.

Seychelles is fortunate to have an extraordinary team of Honorary Consuls in the

United States, and I take this opportunity to also commend Lise and Beth for their

dedication to Seychelles.

I am equally grateful to the city of San Francisco for the warm welcome.

The Twenty-ninth of June 1976 will forever be a defining moment in our history.

From that day onward the Seychelles became more than just a group of islands

with pristine beaches and the unique beauty it is so famous for. On that day, the

world witnessed the birth of a new nation, taking ownership of its destiny and

laying its first step towards self-determination.

Over the course of forty-seven years our country has undergone significant

transformation, enduring and maturing along the way, to emerge as a sovereign

state that deeply values liberty, fraternity and equality.

These principles have been vital to Seychelles’ success story, as a thriving

democracy that respects the fundamental rights of every human being, and which

places its citizens at the heart of its development. This explains why Seychelles has

a high human development index and why it continues to make headway in areas

such as political freedom, transparency and the fight against corruption.

Just recently, Seychelles was upgraded to Tier 1 of the 2023 Trafficking in Persons

report, further underscoring the significant strides we have made to preserve the

dignity and right of individuals.

As a peace-loving nation that profoundly respects international law, the country

will remain steadfast in promoting peace and stability as preconditions of

sustainable development and prosperity for all. We will continue to take a

proactive stance in combatting transnational crime as well as illegal, unreported

and unregulated fishing, as we know too-well the detrimental impact such illicit

activities have on societies across regions.

In its pursuit of greater economic growth, the government is placing considerable

emphasis on good governance and socioeconomic transformation, to incubate the

necessary conditions for foreign direct investment. At the Same time,

consolidating our traditional economic pillars, being tourism and fisheries, whilst

pushing the boundary of possibilities through the Blue Economy sector to

promote a more diversified and robust economy.

Nevertheless, bridging the divide between socioeconomic advancement and

conservation has never been more important.

For this reason, we continue to champion environment conservation and

biodiversity protection, reinforcing our contribution towards the global commons

for a healthier planet through nature-based solutions. Seychelles has enlightened

the world on the prospects, by pioneering the debt for-nature swap. Building on

this groundbreaking initiative we are moving to protect 30 per cent of its oceanic

space which will facilitate our plan to preserve seagrass ecosystems that are so

critical for biodiversity and carbon sequestration.

Yet, in a world beset by multidimensional challenges and emergent crises, our

Small Island Developing State is faced with the daunting task of overcoming its

inherent limitations to secure a better future for its people.

Global threats including the triple planetary catastrophe of Climate Change,

pollution and biodiversity loss, along with international health emergencies,

global financial risks and geopolitical tensions are accentuating our vulnerabilities.

Like many other island states, Seychelles is at risk of being overwhelmed by the

rising sea-levels, whilst it endures the fury of the increasing intensity and

unpredictability of ever-changing weather patterns.

Navigating these turbulent storms will require our country to build the necessary

resilience to ensure its survival, with the realization that these complex issues can

only be addressed through cooperation, dialogue, solidarity, respect for the

sovereignty and rights of individual nations.

We therefore look to the United States as an important partner in this endeavor.

The reopening of the US Embassy in Victoria by Deputy Secretary of State Richard

Verma on 1 June, is a positive development in the longstanding bilateral relations

of Seychelles and the United States, and testament to the will of the two nations

to establish deeper cooperation. We are keen to strengthen our collaboration to

unravel the full potential of the blue economy, to address climate change, to

improve maritime security, and to stem transnational crime and corruption.

Such partnerships are the building blocks to a sustainable future for all.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The wealth of a nation lies in its citizens, and therefore the Seychellois people

remain our country’s greatest hope.

It is for this reason that the government is developing its Diaspora engagement

programme to keep our nationals, wherever they are, connected and engaged

with their homeland to ensure that they have the opportunity to contribute to its

development. Our Mission and consulates remain at your disposal to ensure that

you have that chance.

At home or abroad, our country looks its people, the custodians of its culture and

values, to bring its aspirations to bear and promote its wellbeing.


Ladies and Gentlemen,

In concluding, on the occasion of the forty-seventh anniversary of our

Independence Day, I wish you all good health and prosperity.

Thank you all for being here tonight!