Her Excellency Mrs. Marjaana Sall, the new Ambassador of the European Union (EU) have met with representatives for the platform for civil society. H.E Sall was welcomed by the CEPS Chairperson, Jules Hoareau, along with the CEPS Secretary to the Board, Mrs Marie-Nella Azemia. The EU delagtion also comprised of the head of section ‘Comoros and Seychelles’, Mrs Karina Dzialowska and the Press and Information Officer, Corinne Paya.
H.E. Sall, renewed the engagement that the EU has with Seychelles civil society by reiterating that through the Cotonou Agreement, civil society is a key partner of the EU. The Cotonou Agreement is a treaty between the European Union and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States It was an agreement signed in June 2000 in Cotonou.
CEPS Chairperson introduced CEPs and its structure and how as a platform we work for our members and the growth of civil society in the country. Outlining our accomplishments, he spoke of M.O.U signed with MACOSS, the civil society body in Mauritius and how this regional block hopes to reach out to the wider Indian Ocean Region through programmes and projects.The delegation also got the opportunity to learn of civil society’s role in the pre election process and how CEPS hopes to contribute towards voters education.
CEPS Chairperson explained that two organizations namely the Citizens Democracy Watch Seychelles and Association for rights Information and Democracy (ARID) are conducting pre and post election observation in the country. Civil society as a sector is well engaged in the electoral process. A large portion of the contributions and amendments made to the Elections Act 2014, came from civil society.
H.E Sall was informed of the proposed legal framework for the budget process currently being conducted between the Ministry of Finance and other stakeholders, including CEPS. As part of this the platform is seeking to gain capacity for the purpose of conducting social audits, one example being for the Social Renaissance Programme.
The Head of section ‘Comoros and Seychelles’, Mrs Karina Dzialowska spoke of the Post 2020 ACP-EU Partnership Consultations, explaining that the Cotonou agreement ends in 2020. Therefore the EU has launched a consultation process to define the new partnership between EU, African, Caribbean and Pacific countries. Eu has published working paper to guide consultation process. A questionnaire is also available. Countries being asked to make contributions by 31st December through a questionnaire.
The possibility of funding was also discussed. CEPS became the national platform for civil society thanks to the 9th and 10th European Development Fund.
CEPS can benefit from three types of grants from the EU. The 11th EDF is also available. This can be applied for through the Seychelles government, through the IOC, SADC or COMESSA. Grants for projets aiming to promote an economical, cultural and social development of the African, Caribean, Pacific and oversees countries, to strengthen peace and security and to promote a stable and democratic political environment. The platform is also able to apply for a Democracy & Human Right fund. Also available are funds, available to civil society umbrella organisations. For this, a specific project needs to be submitted for this budget line.
The 11th EDF is also available. This can be applied for through the Seychelles Government and also, through the IOC, SADC or COMESSA. Grant is available for projects aiming to promote an economical, cultural and social development, to strengthen peace and security and to promote a stable and democratic political environment.
The EU delegation has encouraged CEPS to continue with the political dialogues it is engaged in. The EU has given its commitment to support the platform’s projects and progammes.