Commemorative message by VP Meriton in celebration of OACPS Day
Today, on 5th June, Seychelles proudly joins the rest of the member countries of the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) to celebrate the OACPS Day under the theme of ‘Power of Change’. This is also an occasion to take pride in what has been achieved thus far by OACPS.
The OACPS comprises 79 member countries from Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific islands. The African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) was established in 1975, with the aim of associating with the European Economic Community (EEC), which we know today as the European Union (EU). The common objective was to promote sustainable development of countries in sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific, and to integrate them into the global economy. The OACPS today is the largest trans-regional intergovernmental organization of developing countries in the international system.
OACPS Day is an opportunity to reflect on the significant progress made since the inception of the ACP Group 45 years ago and to its transformation to the OACPS today. The most notable progress is the cooperation among its members that has evolved beyond development cooperation with the European Union and covers a variety of fields in areas of trade, economics, culture and politics.
On this day, we also recognize the need to continue embracing the values of equality, peace and progress, as we continue to steer the organisation in the right direction so that it reaches its full potential.
Notwithstanding the progress made, in today’s increasingly unpredictable environment, OACPS is confronted with a number of challenges, including sustainable development, protection of the environment, climate change, human rights, migration and peace and security among others. We have to continue working together in order to surmount these challenges.
The year 2020 is a challenging one for the OACPS and its member states. The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has left no country unscathed. In order to combat this pandemic collectively, change is inevitable and we have to be able to adapt to a “new normal”.
As we commemorate OACPS day, we remain inspired by the theme “Power of Change”, as a driver for embracing innovation, boosting diversification and deepening sustainable development, with the view to create a more economically resilient OACPS group. More than ever, priority should be given to intensify international efforts to re-look at the fabric of international development support and harness global solidarity, in order to address the inequalities that exist in our societies and globally, as exposed by this COVID-19 pandemic, as well as finding a suitable solution to the debt burden, which many member-countries must bear.
As part of this OACPS family, we remain committed to work together, seek new partnerships, enhance existing ones and truly transform the OACPS into a modern, dynamic and effective intermediary for promoting OACPS goals and aspirations.
We look to the future with optimism.
Let us celebrate the OACPS Day in unity.