SMALL ISLAND DEVELOPING STATES AND THEIR DEVELOPMENT

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Small states and major international organizations

Small island states are currently a well-accepted sub-group in the international system. Acknowledging this, the UN chose Small Island Developing States as one of four specific themes for the year 2014 (UN Website: http://www.un.org/en/events/observances/years.shtml). The UN‟s Inter Agency Consultative Group (IACG), an informal coordinating mechanism, regroups 25 international bodies representing the interests of SIDS. The IACG, which provides members with the possibility to “exchange expertise, experiences, approaches and information on planned activities, and explore collaborative efforts” includes 12 other UN agencies, Regional Commissions and regional intergovernmental organizations. The IACG currently meets once a month and it is hoped that this overarching mechanism will eventually be formalized so that it is like other UN mechanisms. Interestingly, while the Economic Commissions for Latin America and the Caribbean, and for Asia/Pacific, participate in the IACG, the Economic Commission for Africa is absent (UN website 2014a: Inter-Agency Consultative Group on SIDS). Other members of note include the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Global Island Partnership (GLISPA) launched in 2007 and currently co-chaired by the President of Palau and the President of Seychelles (https://www.cbd.int/island/glispa.shtml). It is to be noted that many of the non-UN bodies that are members of the IACG tend to be forum agencies that target environment-related matters.

The mandate of the Commonwealth in regard to Small Island Developing

States The current mandate of the Commonwealth, as determined essentially by the CHOGMs, focusses on three main areas: i) working for peace, democracy, equality and good governance, ii) being a catalyst for global consensus building and iii) being a source of assistance for sustainable development and poverty eradication (Cox 2005: 2). Cox, who was a Deputy Secretary-General of the Commonwealth at the time of writing, states that the organization is good at fulfilling its mandate generally, and points out that while some say more „effort should be put into publicity‟ regarding the work done by the Commonwealth, “the truth is that this sort of delicate work achieves its results for the very reason that it is done discreetly” (2005: 2).

Commonwealth assistance to development in the Seychelles and benefits

accrued through membership of the association As already noted, the Seychelles, following in the footsteps of most former colonies of Britain, became a member of the Commonwealth at its independence in 1976. While there are no direct references to the reasons which led the Seychelles to join the Commonwealth, these reasons seem to have been in line with the thoughts of Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime Minister of India who is quoted as saying in 1949: “We join the Commonwealth obviously because we think it is beneficial to us and to certain 63 causes in the world that we wish to advance” (Millar 1967: 1).

INTRODUCTION

The Republic of Seychelles is an archetypal small island developing state (SIDS). It exhibits most of the known characteristics, and weaknesses, of this type of country, the more prominent ones being a great vulnerability to economic shocks; a marked susceptibility to climate change and other environmental threats (McEnroy and Medek 2012: 19) as well as very limited national resources (UN 2005a:1). Much of this is due to geographic and topographic factors directly linked to small, and as is often the case, remote islands. An important characteristic shared by SIDS members of the Commonwealth is that they have been for varying periods of time, colonies or dependencies of Great Britain in the recent historical past. As a consequence, they tend to have relatively similar administrative structures and systems of governance acquired through the inheritance of colonial models as well as through the Western educational experiences of many of their civil servants (Kersell 1992: 291). This chapter covers essential geographical, historical, demographic, socio-economic and political information about the Seychelles with the aim of providing a factual context to the study. It does not venture into deep analysis of the various aspects covered. More in-depth coverage of areas directly related to the study is presented in chapter 5.

Population

The population of the Seychelles, which is currently composed of about 90,000 individuals can neither be described as racially homogeneous nor can it be grouped in relatively clear ethnic communities, as is the case in the neighboring island of Mauritius which acknowledges four ethnic groups: Hindus, Muslims, Sino-mauritians and a “residual category” called „general population‟, which includes people of African, European and mixed descent (Eriksen 2002: 26). Records indicate that among the first settlers who came from Mauritius to Seychelles in 1770, there were 27 males (15 French, 7 slaves, 5 Indians) and 1 black woman (McAteer 1991: 64). The population of Seychelles at the time of the take-over by the British had grown to a total of 3,418, being composed of 317 French, 3,015 slaves mainly of African and Madagascan origin as well as 86 free blacks and Creoles (Taylor 2005: 13). Some Chinese settlers came later, as free immigrants, when possibilities for retail trading became apparent (Chang Him 2011: 48).

TABLE OF CONTENTS :

  • ABSTRACT
  • ACKNOWEDGEMENTS
  • List of Tables
  • List of Figures
  • CHAPTER INTRODUCTION
    • 1.1 CONTEXT AND BACKGROUND
    • 1.3 RESEARCH PROBLEM, OBJECTIVES AND SCOPE
      • 1.3.1 Research problem
      • 1.3.3 Research objectives
      • 1.3.4 Scope of study
    • 1.4 RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY
      • 1.4.1 Desk review of archival material and documentary sources
      • 1.4.2 Field research
    • 1.4.3Research techniques
      • 1.4.4 Ethical issues
    • 1.5 IMPORTANCE OF STUDY
    • 1.6 OUTLINE OF THESIS AND CHAPTER CONTENT
  • CHAPTER REVIEW OF SELECTED RELEVANT LITERATURE
    • 2.1 INTRODUCTION
    • 2.2 KEY CONCEPTS AND TERMS
    • 2.3 THE INTER-STATE SYSTEM AND THE CONCEPT OF ASSOCIATION IN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS THEORY
      • 2.3.1 The nation-state and international structures
      • 2.3.2 International organizations in International Relations theories
      • 2.3.3 The domestic system and the international system
      • 2.3.4 The emergence and growth of international governmental organizations
      • 2.3.5 Types of international organizations
      • 2.3.6 Durability of international governmental organizations
    • 2.4 INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION, MANDATE AND ROLE OF AN INTERNATIONAL GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATION
      • 2.4.1 Levels and nature of international cooperation
      • 2.4.2 Multilateralism and state sovereignty
      • 2.4.3 Technical assistance or cooperation
    • 2.5 THE COMMONWEALTH AS AN ASSOCIATION OF STATES, SEEN THROUGH INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS THEORY
      • 2.5.1 The origin and functioning of the Modern Commonwealth
      • 2.5.2 The Commonwealth as an international organization
      • 2.5.3 The multi-faceted, plural Commonwealth
      • 2.5.4 The reform of international organizations and of the Commonwealth itself
    • 2.6 SMALL ISLAND DEVELOPING STATES AND THEIR DEVELOPMENT
      • 2.6.1 Small States, Small Island States and Microstates
      • 2.6.2 Development needs of a SIDS
      • 2.6.3 Small states and major international organizations
      • 2.6.4 Small states‟ membership of the Commonwealth
      • 2.6.5 Benefits of membership of the Commonwealth to developing member states
      • 2.6.6 The mandate of the Commonwealth in regard to Small Island Developing States
        • 2.6.7 The Commonwealth response to development problems faced by small and vulnerable member states, in particular small island developing states
    • 2.7 THE REPUBLIC OF SEYCHELLES AS A SMALL ISLAND DEVELOPING STATE AND MEMBER OF THE COMMONWEALTH
    • 2.7.1 Overview of the development of Seychelles since independence
    • 2.7.2 Highlights of major development issues and challenges for Seychelles
    • 2.7.2.1 Seychelles national development plans
    • 2.7.2.2 Economic and social situation 2005 –
    • 2.7.3 Commonwealth assistance to development in the Seychelles and benefits accrued through membership of the association
    • 2.8 SUMMARY
  • CHAPTER THE REPUBLIC OF SEYCHELLES – OVERVIEW
    • 3.1 INTRODUCTION
    • 3.2 LOCATION AND GEOGRAPHICAL DETAILS
    • 3.4 POPULATION AND SOCIO- ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS
      • 3.4.1 Population
      • 3.4.2 Education and Health
      • 3.4.3 Social problems
      • 3.4.4 The economy
    • 3.5 OVERVIEW OF LOCAL POLITICS AND GOVERNANCE IN SEYCHELLES
      • 3.5.1 Political developments
      • 3.5.2 Current Governance
    • 3.6 SUMMARY
  • CHAPTER
    • RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
    • 4.1 INTRODUCTION AND THEORETICAL APPROACH
    • 4.2 KEY CONCEPTS AND INSTRUMENTS

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AN INVESTIGATION OF THE USEFULNESS OF AN INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION TO A SMALL ISLAND DEVELOPING STATE: THE CASE OF SEYCHELLES AND THE COMMONWEALTH

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