Brussels, 28 April 2021/OACPS: Three new ambassadors were presented to the 937th meeting of the Committee of Ambassadors (CoA) of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS). The new ambassadors, H.E. Mr Mahamat Mamadou Addy from the Republic of Chad, H.E. Iván Emilio de Jesús Ogando Lora of the Dominican Republic and H.E. Mrs Symone Betton-Nayo of Jamaica, were presented to the Committee by OACPS Secretary-General, H.E. Georges Rebelo Pinto Chikoti.

H.E. Mr Mahamat Mamadou Addy

During the course of this career, H.E. Mr Mahamat Mamadou Addy has served as Minister of Microfinance, Minister of Mines and Energy, Secretary of State for the Environment, Secretary of State for Agriculture in charge of Food Security and of Vocational Training, Secretary of State for Infrastructure and Transport and Secretary of State for Public Health. He has also functioned as Secretary of State of Agriculture, Infrastructure, Transport and Public Health. During his long and illustrious professional career, Ambassador Addy has held many posts in the public service, including that of Administrator of projects and programmes of the 6th, 7th and 8th European Development Funds (EDF).

In his inaugural address to the Committee, Ambassador Addy congratulated his colleagues on their achievements with respect to the conclusion of the Negotiations for the Post-Cotonou Agreement and the revision of the Georgetown Agreement, “which have respectively made it possible to redefine our cooperation with our main partner, the EU and to broaden our scope of partnership while giving pride of place to South-South and triangular cooperation and multilateralism”. The new ambassador called for greater sharing of experiences and know-how among the Members,“to meet the challenges of digital development, scientific innovation, particularly in the field of medicine, as well as cooperation in agriculture, tourism and many other areas to better exploit our potential to create economic opportunities for our populations”.

Ambassador Addy reminded his colleagues that joint action was necessary to confront the menaces posed by climate change and the treats to peace and security.

Concerning climate change, he cited the consequences of the drying up of Lake Chad, which plays a key role for the survival of its populations and to protect wetlands, and shared some of the actions taken by the Government of Chad to preserve sustainable development. With respect to the threats to peace and security, Ambassador Addy spoke of his Government’s efforts to combat extremism in recent years.

H.E. Addy concluded his Remarks with an update on the situation in his country – the successful presidential elections followed by the sudden demise of incumbent president Idriss Deby Itno and informed the CoA of the establishment, for the next 18 months, of the transitional government and called for their support for the new arrangements.

H.E. Mr Iván Emilio de Jesús Ogando Lora

The second ambassador to be introduced, H.E. Iván Emilio de Jesús Ogando Lora of the Dominican Republic, joins the CoA with more than 30 years of experience in the areas of Trade Negotiations and Integration, and Regional Cooperation in the Caribbean and Latin America.

Author of multiple publications on issues of regional cooperation in Europe, prior to joining his assignment in Brussels, Ambassador Ogando Lora was Director of the Caribbean Directorate in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Advisor to the Vice-Ministry of Negotiations and International Cooperation in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Dominican Republic.

Ambassador Ogando Lora has also held various technical positions in Regional and International Institutions at the diplomatic representation level, including heading the CARIFORUM Programming Unit in Georgetown, Guyana, coordinating regional projects financed by the EDF.

Beginning his remarks by speaking of the consequences for his country, three decades ago, of subscribing to the Georgetown Agreement and becoming part of the Lomé IV Convention, which allowed the “opening of a new and rich chapter of dialogue, cooperation and solidarity with a group of countries”, H.E. Lora thanked the members of the CoA and the Secretariat for their work on negotiating the new Agreement. He noted, however, that while the new Agreement offers a variety of opportunities, it also brings new challenges to effectively implement the commitments undertaken.

Speaking of the revised Georgetown Agreement, which aims to lay the foundation for a renewed OACPS, Ambassador Lora observed, “…we are aware that in order for our OACPS to play a truly relevant role and become an important benchmark in international spaces, it must have a Secretariat that has the necessary capacities to provide first-line technical and political advice. For this reason, on behalf of my country, I wish to express our willingness to work with Secretary-General Chikoti and his team, in the necessary institutional restructuring that allows for a more efficient, more transparent, more inclusive and flexible Secretariat to coordinate proposals for our group to the many challenges that the world political and economic reality impose on us.”

H.E. Ogando Lora also spoke of the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which have highlighted the vulnerability of developing economies and the need to relaunch our economies to pre-pandemic levels.

As he completed his Remarks, Ambassador Ogando Lora offered solidarity to his Caribbean neighbours in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines on the eruption of the La Soufrière volcano and asked that they be given the full support for recovery by the Members of the OACPS.

H.E. Mrs Symone Betton-Nayo of Jamaica

The third ambassador to be presented to the CoA, also from the Caribbean Region, H.E. Symone Betton-Nayo of Jamaica, is no stranger to the Committee, having previously served as Minister Counsellor at the Embassy of Jamaica in Brussels from 2010-2015. A career diplomat and member of the foreign service in Jamaica for over 25 years, H.E. Betton-Nayo has also served as Director in the Foreign Trade Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Jamaica and was also Lead Technical Negotiator for her country in the CARIFORUM-UK negotiations for a CARIFORUM-UK EPA, post-Brexit.

Prior to her stint in Brussels from 2010 to 2015, Ambassador Betton-Nayo also served as First Secretary at the Permanent Mission of Jamaica to the United Nations and its Specialised Agencies in Geneva.

Conveying warm greetings from her minister, H.E. Kamina Johnson-Smith, Ambassador Betton-Nayo commended the Committee on the significant strides made “in realising the objectives of a more strengthened body that is fit for purpose, and more relevant in a changing global environment.” She however cautioned that the Organisation could not rest on its laurels and that much still needed to be done.

H.E. Betton-Nayo observed that the OACPS faces many challenges, which have been only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Claiming that only immediate action could prevent a lost decade, Ambassador Betton-Nayo described the socio-economic impacts of the pandemic on her country, and urged action as Member States developed their COVID recovery plans to meet their Sustainable Development Goal targets and regain lost ground from the pandemic.

The new ambassador spoke of key areas of development for future action such as investment promotion, capacity building and research and development as a tool to achieve the broader objectives of economic development.

Ambassador Betton-Nayo ended her presentation by assuring the CoA of Jamaica’s full support as they prepare for the implementation of the new Agreement to make the OACPS more competitive and resilient. Offered her solidarity to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, she advocated for the mobilization of the necessary resources to treat with the humanitarian situation resulting from the eruption of the volcano.

Dean of the Committee of Ambassadors, H.E. Daniel Evina Abe’e, speaking on behalf of the CoA, commented that they were all outstanding representatives of their governments, bringing with them great professional experience. Observing that even though they were joining just as the Agreement had been signed, the very difficult stage of the Post-Cotonou Agreement, the implementation, still lies ahead and he was certain that their experience, as shown in their introductory remarks, would most definitely enrich the debate around the implementation.