Visiting the Pacific region last week, Swiss Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Burkhalter confirmed Switzerland’s determination to foster small island states' presence in International Geneva. This will be achieved through CD Pacific, an online and in situ multilateral diplomacy capacity development programme implemented by Geneva-based DiploFoundation.
'Geneva, being the second center of the UN and home to many NGOs, think-tanks and other international actors has proven to be the place where solutions to many international problems are found and regulations are internationally adopted, be it on environmental issues, health, trade, migration, human rights or humanitarian action, just to name a few. Every day issues are discussed in Geneva that may have an enormous impact on the population of your country as well as the whole south Pacific region,'
stressed Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter while launching the Capacity Development Programme in multilateral diplomacy for Pacific island states (CD Pacific) at the University of South Pacific in Vanuatu, on 26 October 2013. This project, custom-designed using DiploFoundation's online training expertise, will strengthen participation of Pacific island states in multilateral organisations.
Vanuatu Prime Minister Moanna Carcasses Katotai Kalosil stressed:
'For our small island, like the rest of Pacific, this type of capacity development is essential. We cannot afford to be left out of global negotiations. Yes, we are small island states, but we share most global problems. Many of the issues that are of relevance for us are addressed in Geneva. Climate change is for us matter of survival. We are often hit by humanitarian disasters. Geneva is the world humanitarian capital with the headquarters of the Red Cross, United Nations High Commission for Refugees, among several others. Internet communication is vital for our ability to stay in touch with the rest of the world. Again, the future of world communication and the Internet is discussed in Geneva. For us, participation in these processes is not only a matter of necessity, but also of urgency.' Mr Kalosil also mentioned he would discuss the importance of opening permanent missions in Geneva with his counterparts from other islands.
Participating remotely, DiploFoundation director Jovan Kurbalija explained the three phases of the CD Pacific approach based on online training, online policy research, and policy immersion, in which participants will travel to Geneva to engage in real-time multilateral negotiations. He added:
'The end of CD Pacific will be the beginning of a sustainable community of Pacific diplomats engaging in the rich diplomatic canvas of International Geneva.'
The CD Pacific project is financially supported by Switzerland's Federal Department for Foreign Affairs, and implemented by Geneva-based DiploFoundation. The overall Swiss contribution is CHF 142,000. The project was launched in Vanuatu on October 26th, 2013. In 2013 year, CD Pacific will focus on building a network of partners, institutions and experts. The online course and policy research will start in January, and face-to-face policy immersion will take place in Geneva in May 2014.
DiploFoundation (Diplo) is an independent non-profit organisation established in 2002 by the governments of Switzerland and Malta. Diplo’s main mission is to increase the capacity of small and developing states to engage effectively and efficiently in global policy processes, negotiations, and diplomacy.