Brussels, 6 June 2022/OACPS: The African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States was formed on the 6th of June 1975 in the city of Georgetown, Guyana. This date has, since then, been known as ACP Day. On the 5th of April 2020, the ACP Group became the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), and we now celebrate OACPS Day on the 5th of April. As such, we commemorate the initial coming together of the three geographical regions of the South on the 6th of June, and refer to this day as ‘OACPS Foundation Day’. This year, I am pleased to celebrate our 2nd OACPS Foundation Day, with the theme of, ‘OACPS: Innovation and Resilience’, as we simultaneously celebrate our 47th anniversary.

The rapprochement of the six regions of the OACPS marked a significant step forward for the regions and a remarkable accomplishment for the Founding Fathers who had the vision and the courage to pool their political, economic and intellectual resources to negotiate with countries of the ‘developed world’ on behalf of their States.

Despite our regional, linguistic and socio-economic diversity, we realised that we needed to make the journey towards the political, economic and social advancement of our peoples, together. In the ensuing years, our unity has been tried and tested. We have held strong. The OACPS stands as a beacon of what can be accomplished through joint endeavour.

On the eve of the start of the 114th Session of the OACPS Council of Ministers, we celebrate our 47th anniversary and our 2nd OACPS Foundation Day with a renewed appreciation of our togetherness. In the aftermath of the global COVID-19 pandemic, which ravaged the economies of many of our States, the sustainable recovery of our Members is a priority. While some of our States have started to open up again, some are now feeling the pandemic’s wrath. Let us remember that we are not safe, until all of us are safe, so I implore each and every one of you to be vigilant and to do what is necessary to definitively move beyond this period of our history.

While we were battling COVID-19, other diseases and viruses have re-emerged. This is a harsh reminder that we need to pay attention to our health systems. Across our regions, food insecurity is worsening. Climate change is causing droughts which are further exacerbating the problem. The war between Russia and the Ukraine is threatening to make a bad situation much worse, not just for our Member States, but globally, with respect to supply chains, energy and food. Within our own regions, conflicts are causing bloodshed, human suffering and loss of infrastructure – all of which we can ill afford. We need to refocus; 2030 is not so far away and we have a lot of ground to cover to meet the sustainable development goals.

More than anything, we need to alter our realities through changing our mindsets. Our countries are rich in natural resources – including our young people. We need to work together to maximise these resources; to boost trade; to scale up South-South cooperation; to seek out new partnerships and funding sources to better and more profitably utilise our resources for the benefit of all; and to bolster multilateralism and the rule of law.

The Founders of the OACPS came together nearly five decades ago to carve a space in the global economy for our regions. As we prepare to finalise and implement the new Partnership Agreement with the EU, we, the 79 members of the OACPS need to consider how collectively, we can use our innovativeness to boost our resilience to achieve the aims of the revised Georgetown Agreement and get us closer to being the OACPS we want.

In December, in collaboration with the Government of the Republic of Angola, we will host the 10th Summit of OACPS Heads of State and Government, themed, ‘3 Continents, 3 Oceans, 1 Common Destiny: Building a resilient and sustainable OACPS’, where we will take stock of the implementation of the commitments made in previous Summits and plan, at the highest level, how best we can shape the future of the OACPS and the 1.2 billion people therein.

As we celebrate our 2nd OACPS Foundation Day, I take this opportunity to thank all of the persons who support and help to create the OACPS we want.

I wish you all a happy OACPS Foundation Day.

Congratulatory Messages on the occasion of the 2nd OACPS Foundation Day:
President of the 9th Summit of OACPS Heads of State and Government
Chair of the OACPS Council of Ministers
Chair of the OACPS Committee of Ambassadors