Brussels, 23 June 2021/OACPS: His Excellency Hon. Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya and Commander-in-Chief of the Defense Forces, in his capacity as President-in-Office of the Summit of OACPS Heads of State and Government, met with H.E. Mr Georges Rebelo Pinto Chikoti, Secretary-General of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) and the Committee of Ambassadors of the OACPS at the Headquarters of the organisation in Brussels, Belgium on 22 June 2021.

During the bilateral meeting with the Secretary-General, H.E. the President noted that like many other countries, Members of the OACPS are in the sixth year of implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development whose overarching theme is eradicating all forms of poverty everywhere. The President pointed out that even before the COVID-19 pandemic, many Member States were already off-track in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and encouraged, that Members of the OACPS endeavour to make progress on achieving the SDGs.

His Excellency observed that the COVID-19 pandemic is set to increase the number of the poor to 124 million, causing a rise in extreme poverty for the first time in a generation, especially for low- and middle-income countries; most of which are OACPS members.

H.E. President Kenyatta recalled the first virtual Extraordinary Inter-Sessional Summit of OACPS Heads of State and Government which he convened on 3 June 2020 with the theme of Transcending the COVID-19 pandemic: Building resilience through Global Solidarity”. He commended the Secretary-General on the progress made to date with OACPS and development partners to implement the Nairobi Nguvu ya Pamoja Declaration and encouraged that the Secretariat increase its efforts to fully implement the Declaration, which, though it predated the outbreak, carries the aspirations of the members with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The President-in-Office of the OACPS Summit also tasked the Secretary-General to initiate the process leading to convening a second Inter-Sessional Summit of OACPS Heads of State and Government to review the status of the COVID-19 pandemic and the implementation of the outcomes of the 9th Summit, held in Nairobi in December 2019.

Reaffirming his commitment to support and promote the ideals of the OACPS in international fora, President Kenyatta referenced a number of upcoming international events in the areas of trade and sustainable development, including the 12th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in November 2021 in Geneva, the 15th Quadrennial Conference of the United National Trade and Development Conference (UNCTAD) in October 2021 in Barbados, the 15th Session of the Conference of Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in China in October 2021, the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference in the United Kingdom in November, the UN Ocean Conference to be co-hosted by the Governments of Kenya and Portugal in Lisbon in 2022 and the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.

The Kenyan President encouraged the Secretary-General and the Committee of Ambassadors to continue to work with European Union (EU) Institutions regarding the issue of the blacklisting of OACPS countries with strategic deficiencies in anti-money laundering and financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) regimes. President Kenyatta remarked that despite his personal intervention with the EU, a new list was adopted in May 2020 and shared the concern of affected OACPS Member States that the unilateral approach adopted by the EU is against the spirit of the new Cotonou Partnership Agreement. He called on the Members of the OACPS to continue to engage the EU on this and other matters which have the potential to strain the relations between OACPS and its core partners — the EU.

Thanking OACPS for overwhelmingly supporting the bid by the Republic of Kenya for membership of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for the period 2021-2022, President Kenyatta pointed out that Kenya’s membership of the UNSC is an opportunity to serve all, including the OACPS.

Secretary-General Chikoti seized the opportunity of the visit of the President-in-Office of the OACPS, to introduce his gender-balanced Management team, and to introduce the staff of the Secretariat. He also apprised President Kenyatta of the progress with the programmes currently undertaken by the five departments of the Secretariat, the ongoing restructuring within the Secretariat, as well as future plans and issues on which the support of H.E. the President was requested.

During the Official visit to Belgium, besides the visit to the OACPS Secretariat, President Kenyatta and his delegation held meetings with officials of the EU, and the Government of Belgium. The President also presided over a business forum organized by the CBL-ACP Chamber of Commerce for Belgium and Luxembourg.