Honourable Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation

Principal Secretaries

Under Secretaries

IDM Colleagues

UN Colleagues

Chief Executive Officer in the King’s Office

Ladies and Gentlemen,

(And, if I may…) All protocols observed

Good Morning,

I am humbled and honoured to attend the opening session of the training of Protocol Officers in the Kingdom of Eswatini. I understand that this training is the first of its kind supported by the United Nations.

Protocol is the etiquette of diplomacy and affairs of state. It involves customs and regulations for dealing with diplomatic formality,   precedence and etiquette. Put simply, it is the practise of good manners at a local and international scale. Today, protocol is particularly important because it covers the ceremonial rules to be followed during official functions and special occasions, but because it provides a set of rules of courteousness that are to be respected in society.

In the context of the United Nations, which is a 195 Member States organization led by Royal Highnesses , civil and military Heads of State and Government, the establishment of protocol ground rules helps in preventing misunderstandings and mistakes that may have far reaching consequences when dealing with high-level officials,

Honourable Minister,

This training is one of the many examples of the close working relationship and cooperation between the United Nations and the Government of Eswatini which, after 50 years of UN presence in the country, continue to be governed by mutual respect, mutual trust and strong solidarity.

Although the UN brings proven international expertise in this area, it is important to stress from the onset that this training will outline international standards but also address the peculiarities and uniqueness of protocol in the context of Eswatini. The training will be a forum of rich, lively and exciting exchanges of knowledge on professional standards, etiquette and cultural sensitivity between people with diverse backgrounds and experiences.

The idea of holding such a training precedes my arrival in the Kingdom of Eswatini in 2018 and the Honourable Minister’s appointment to her high responsibilities in the Government. I am glad that, together, we saw worth and benefit in pursuing this initiative. In this regard, I wish to express the UN appreciation to the Government of Eswatini, particularly to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, for the trust and the confidence in our ability to deliver on such an important task.

Honourable Minister, ladies and gentlemen,

At this juncture, let me extend a warm welcome to our trainers. We are privileged to have Ms Nicole Bresson-Ondieki, the Deputy Chief of Protocol and Liaison Service in the Executive Office of the UN Secretary-General and Mr Amit Singhal , Senior Political Affairs Officer in the UN Department of Political  and Peacebuilding Affairs. I would like to personally thank you both for responding favourably to our request for assistance and for the major efforts you have made to be with us in this week. Thank you very much.

Nicole and Amit have come from New York to team up with experienced professionals and trainers in the Kingdom of Eswatini. I would also like to thank DR Robert Mnisi and Ms Batfobile Dlamini from the Institute of Development Management (IDM) who have agreed to join the team, as well as the facilitators and Instructors from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the King’s Office for their guidance and constant support. My personal thanks, if I may, go to the Principal Secretary Ambassador Joel Nhleko and Under Secretary International Cooperation , Ms Jennifer Neves for their always sound contributions and, obviously, to my team in the Office of the Resident Coordinator for their tireless efforts. As you would have noted and will experience, this has been teamwork since DAY 1 and a clear demonstration of our commitment to promoting partnership for sustainable development : this goal 17 of the Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs).

I also wish to thank all participants present with us today. We have a mix of very senior officials in the Government and the King’s Office attending this training. You have made major adjustments to be here. I want to assure you that, at the end of this 3-day training, you will perform your duties with renewed enthusiasm and while being equipped with additional tools to deliver them at an utmost professional level.

Honourable Minister,

This training has come at an opportune time when the Kingdom of Eswatini has set the ambitious but achievable goal to transform and reposition the country as a leading example of Africa’s growth and development, as premised on the continental agenda for intergration as well as the 2030 agenda for sustainable development. The Majestic and proud Eswatini aspires to host major international events and as such, to increasingly receive high profile and more anonymous people from across the globe. High professionalism in protocol services would be appreciated and in high demand.

In the next weeks and months, Eswatini will participate in the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development organised by ECOSOC in NY to present its Voluntary National Review(VNR) on SDGs. Eswatini will also participate in the AU Summit in Niamey and subsequently, in the UN General Assembly meetings in New York. All these meetings and beyond present challenges and opportunities for professional Protocol Officers to demonstrate their talent. We shall be there to witness and assist, as warranted.

Once again, on behalf of the UN system in Eswatini, I would like to thank the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation for hosting this training which will continue to deepen our ties. I wish the trainers and the participants a very productive experience over the next three days.

I thank you

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