The Good High Commissioner -
Interview with HE Marie-Pierre Lloyd
Written by Tom Jones
Edited by Anthony Figueroa
Ms Marie Pierre Lloyd, the High Commissioner of Seychelles, has helped empower many disadvantaged Seychellois through her work with MPower Seychelles. Throughout her work, Ms Lloyd has placed ‘those marginalised and vulnerable individuals and groups in Seychelles society’ at the centre of whatever she is doing, and has always done her best for those in need.
Ms Lloyd is a perfect fit for a Grassroot Diplomat award. Her work is founded on her “firm belief that people need a ‘hand up’ and not necessarily a ‘hand out’”. Working on issues of self-sustainment, independence and well-being can be difficult in a nation as small as the Seychelles. With its small population and relatively low GDP levels, it is a struggle to ensure that poverty does not beget poverty across generations. MPower Seychelles is helping to stymie this with such initiatives such as teaching jobless Seychellois women skills like sewing in order to re-intergrate them into the market place, or helping teen mothers by seeing they are tended to in an environment catered to their needs, while also allowing them to explore employment opportunities. Ex-convicts and those with an alcohol or substance addiction can find a safe haven to come to for rehabilitation and social re-integration.
Another struggle Seychelles faces is, of course, that of climate change. As part of the Small Island Developing State (SIDS) grouping, the islands face a more serious threat from climate change than larger nations or nations with land borders.
“Without a doubt, the impact of climate change is of critical importance for Seychelles like other SIDS because of the direct threat it poses to socio-economic development and our long- term existence. Sea level rise and other adverse impacts of climate change continue to pose significant risk to our efforts to achieve sustainable development.”
Ms Lloyd is proud of her nation’s role in highlighting the traditionally overlooked viewpoint of the SIDS. This includes hosting several conferences specific to the threats posed to SIDS from climate change.
Seychelles is also leading the way when it comes to fighting climate change on the ground. Having a far larger impact than its small size would suggest, Seychelles is looking abroad to protect itself and its citizens. Ms Lloyd describes the mission statement clearly: “To invite international collaboration and support for climate adaptation and mitigation for example disaster management and response, ground water exploitation, developing a Marine Spatial Plan to better manage its marine territory and natural environment, further develop and strengthen coastal and marine ecosystems research and monitoring programmes.” SIDS face a particular challenge from rising sea levels, so they must be incredibly proactive in putting forth measures before problems continue to emerge and grow.
Ms Lloyd continues her fine work, taking the role of a diplomat from its traditional role in the high echelons of government and delivering it straight to its citizens. She views her work with MPower Seychelles as key to assisting her role as its ambassador, “Promoting one’s country for me means empowering citizens whether they are in the country of origin or diaspora.”
Fuelled by her passion to help others stand on their own, her work will no doubt prove invaluable in Seychelles’ continued push for self-reliance and the well-being of its citizens.