LAUNCH OF THE INDIAN OCEAN CIVIL SOCIETY PLATFORM
Regional integration is a strategic tool to stimulate growth and development. The state and the private sector recognise the multiple functions of this civil society platform and its members, carried out by civil society organisations in order to address the main challenges facing the region. These include challenges relating to growth and development, such as poverty and unemployment, environmental degradation and climate change, sustainable development, conflict and disaster management, the HIV pandemic, health, democracy and governance, as well as other issues emerging at all levels of civil society and government.
Research has shown that civil society organisations in the Indian Ocean Region work in isolation and waste precious resources because of their independent approach, duplication of projects, and a lack of mobilisation, networking and sharing of professional experience. The growing power of civil society actors in the field of development brings with its new challenges and makes it essential to take a coordinated approach and build alliances in order to ensure sustainable and equitable development.
In order to promote the roles of key civil society actors in the regional integration, since 2014 the participation of platform for citizens of the Seychelles and the Mauritius Council of Social Service has been working on a vision to implement a mechanism for jointly setting up active civil society platforms in the countries of the Indian Ocean Region. The vision was to create a regional platform that will facilitate and promote networking, and strategic alliances for cooperation and participation among non-governmental actors in order to exchange information and organise their participation in defining the process of regional integration.
After 5 years of tireless work and consolidation of the partnership and agreement between the different civil society platforms, the countries involved came together for a week to finalise all the obligations and legal agreements. On 22 August 2019, at the Hotel Voila Bagatelle, they officially launched the INDIAN OCEAN CIVIL SOCIETY PLATFORM. The Indian Ocean Commission, represented by Ms Gina Bonne, had the honour of officially launching the platform.
The objective of the Indian Ocean Civil Society Platform is to facilitate the commitment of long-term, significant, efficient and hard-hitting CSOs in the Indian Ocean Region. It will also create a foundation upon which civil society organisations can build networks, develop strategic alliances and formulate methods of collaboration and participation. It will be the body tasked with facilitating joint programmes and coordination in order to achieve results and bring about the impact needed in the Indian Ocean Region.
The recently elected committee undertook its first activity, which was to hold a meeting with sponsors and partners such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the European Union (EU), the Indian Ocean Commission, the French Embassy and the French Development Alliance in order to present the platform and its plan of action.
The executive committee of the Indian Ocean Civil Society Platform comprises:
1. Mauritius Council Of Social Services – Chairperson
2. Association Laïque pour l’Emploi, la Formation, la Prévention et l’Autonomie (Secular Association for Employment, Training, Prevention and Autonomy) (ALEFPA) – Vice Chairperson
3. Citizens Engagement Platform Seychelles (CEPS) – Secretary
4. Rodrigues Council of Social Service (RCSS) – Treasurer
5. La Plate-Forme Nationale des Organisations de la Société Civile de Madagascar (National Platform of Civil Society Organisations of Madagascar (PFNOSCM)) – Ordinary Member