1st Virtual OACPS Extraordinary Council of Ministers
The Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) met virtually on Tuesday 28 July 2020 for an extraordinary session of the Council of Ministers. The Seychelles delegation as chair of the East African Group of the OACPS also participated in the meeting of the Bureau of the OACPS Council of Ministers, which preceded the session.
The objectives of the virtual Council were to inter alia apprise member states on the state of play of Post-Cotonou negotiations and deliberate on strategic areas of work of the organization implemented against the backdrop of an unprecedented global crisis.
On the issue Post-Cotonou negotiation, since it is in its final stages, Ambassador Faure, whilst commending the excellent work achieved thus far by the Ministerial Chief Negotiating Group (CNG-M), supported the recommendation to allow CNG-M to finalize and initial the Agreement. He also urged member states to compromise on the few outstanding issues and encouraged them to as much as possible adopt internationally agreed language where there are impasses.
In the deliberations on the Report of the Committee of Ambassadors to the Extraordinary Council, Seychelles strongly condemned European Union’s (EU) action to place OACPS countries on a blacklist during the global pandemic, which has had devastating economic effects. In his statement, Ambassador Faure aligned himself with the sentiments of the many OACPS members who took the floor on the matter and echoed that the listing added additional burden, not just in terms of the image, but in relation to real financial impacts and also casts a heavy shadow on our partnership just as we are in the end stages of concluding a new partnership agreement, which aims to seek global alliance and international cooperation. Given the political nature of tax matters and money laundering, Seychelles gave its support for the matter to be taken up at the United Nations (UN).
With regard to the Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Cooperation (CTA), the Seychelles expressed that they would like to see the continuation of such important institution beyond 2020, more so now given the COVID-19, as it is an important instrument which is central to food security and vital in the attainment of SDG 2 of zero hunger.
Seychelles also acknowledged the good performance of the newly appointed Secretary General (SG), H.E Georges Rebelo Pinto Chikoti, during his first 100 days in office. Seychelles commended the SG for the innovative working methodology adopted, which has permitted the institution to adapt to the new normal and continue to consolidate its role on the global scene, hence ensuring that member states derive the utmost value from their membership to the organization. Ambassador Faure also seized the opportunity to strongly appeal to the Bureau and the Council of Ministers to reconsider the notification letter by the SG with regard to termination of staff contracts ending December 2020. His supporting arguments were mainly on the ground of economic, social, legal and compassionate/humane standpoints, given the COVID-19.
Also in attendance on the Seychelles side were Ambassador Beryl Samson, Director General, Ms. Amenda Padayachy, Senior Counselor, Ms. Myra Laporte and Director, Mr. Jean-Paul d’Offay.