79-Nation OACPS Grows into The Power of Change in The International Arena

By Ramesh Jaura

BERLIN | BRUSSELS (IDN) – The interregional ACP officially became the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) on April 5, when 79 leaders of the group endorsed the revised version of the 1975 Constitutive Act, known as the Georgetown Agreement, at the December 2019 Summit in Nairobi, Kenya.

One month earlier, on March 2, Angola’s Ambassador to the European Union, Mr. Georges Rebelo Pinto Chikoti, took over from the Guyanese Ambassador, Dr P.I. Gomes, the office of the Secretary-General. A highlight of Dr Gomes’ five-year term was the  decision of the group to change its name, thus stressing its importance for organisations such as the United Nations.

What obviously qualifies Mr. Chikoti for the challenging job is that he devoted almost 30 years of his professional career to diplomacy and international relations, in a particularly complex and difficult global environment for Angola, a young independent state at the time.

For almost 25 years 1993 onward, he participated in all sessions of the United Nations General Assembly. In March 2016, Mr. Chikoti chaired the United Nations Security Council Public Debate on ‘Peacekeeping and International Security: Prevention and conflict resolution in the Great Lakes Region’.

Against this backdrop, it is not surprising that the annual International Day for Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace, the UN observed on April 24, was an occasion for Mr. Chikoti to “reaffirm OACPS’ commitment to multilateralism, which is indispensable in enabling States to develop and maintain a rules-based international order”.

The International Day was established on December 12, 2018 through resolution A/RES/73/127 and was first observed on April 24, 2019.

As the resolution emphasises, the International Day is a reaffirmation of the UN Charter and its principles of resolving disputes among countries through peaceful means. It acknowledges the use of multilateral decision-making and diplomacy in achieving peaceful resolutions to conflicts among nations.

In his remarks. Mr. Chikoti recalled the significance of multilateralism and diplomacy “as effective tools that advance our common goals for lasting, sustained peace, stability and security for the achievement of sustainable and inclusive development”.

The OACPS Secretary-General reiterated the importance of strengthening multilateralism, especially in the context of the current global crisis of combating the COVID-19 pandemic. He called for multilateral processes that seek to preserve the interests of members of the OACPS, foster stability, promote justice and equality, while safeguarding security and peace in accordance with the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Mr. Chikoti further underlined the importance of adhering to international agreements such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change that attest to the importance of collective leadership, vision and ambition to address global challenges.

“The OACPS seizes this opportunity to dedicate its efforts to identifying strategic multilateral alliances that are inspired by ethics of solidarity, shared responsibility for the common good, and the inclusive development of all people,” Mr. Chikoti said.

Responding to the killing of George Floyd by police officers on May 25 in Minneapolis in the U.S., he declared unequivocally: “We can no longer tolerate racism and race-based violence, and it has to stop today!”

Credit: OACPS

The OACPS, he said, is anchored on a commitment to diversity as a source of strength and the promotion of mutual understanding among peoples. “The Organisation,” he added, “is determined to combat racism, discrimination, xenophobia and all forms of intolerance and injustice”.

In line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, there is a need to build inclusive societies, promote equality and build a world where “no one is left behind”, he emphasised.

He recalled that on March 21, at the observance of The International Day for Elimination of Racial Discrimination, focusing on the mid-term review of the International Decade for People of African Descent, he had reaffirmed the commitment of the OACPS to strongly promote justice and equality in accordance with the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

“In my statement, I called on all countries to renew their commitment to adopting action-oriented policies that promote diversity, equity and social justice,” Mr. Chikoti said in an oblique but evident reference to the U.S.

These remarks underline the OAPCS Secretary-General’s commitment not only to the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Rights but also to the Agenda 2020 for Sustainable Development which has 17 Goals and 169 targets.

These include the objective of promoting “peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development”, and providing “access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels”.

The Organisation celebrated its 45the anniversary on June 6 focusing on “OACPS 3.0: The Power of Change” referring to the three African, Caribbean and Pacific regions as they become the power of change in the international arena. [IDN-InDepthNews – 08 June 2020]

Image: OACPS Group’s logo acp.int

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