Brussels, 31 May 2021/OACPS: The Committee of Ambassadors (CoA) of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) on 20 May 2021 welcomed their newest colleague, H.E. Dr Pontso Susan Matumelo Sekatle, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Lesotho to their midst, during their 938th session.

H.E. Sekatle’s career started in Academia, as Senior Lecturer and Head of the Department of Political and Administrative Studies, at the National University of Lesotho. From there, she entered the public service as Minister of Health and Social Welfare, and subsequently served as Minister of Local Government and Chieftainship Affairs.

Prior to her appointment as Ambassador to Belgium and the European Union (EU), Ambassador Sekatle was an active Member of Parliament. Among her international engagements, Ambassador Sekatle counts membership among the UN Secretary-General High-level Panel to assess UN Habitat and the Committee of Experts on Public Administration at the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

Comparing the gains made following the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015, Ambassador Sekatle, in her maiden address to the CoA, deplored the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the countries of the South, “Before COVID-19, countries were realizing progress in immunization, HIV and TB prevention and mitigation, maternal and child health. COVID-19 has dramatically reversed gains in health systems, education, service delivery, trade and social, human and economic development gains.” Ambassador Sekatle spoke of the pandemic’s impact on her own country, and the positive effect of the vaccination campaign and called on her colleagues to “…make a concerted effort to engage our partners to make vaccines available now, and together work on post COVID-19 economic development programmes and put in place measures that will enhance the implementation of the SDGs.”

The new ambassador concluded her presentation by thanking her colleagues for their accomplishments to bring the organisation closer to being the OACPS “We Want” and offered words of hope and solidarity, “…if we remain resolute in our quest to attain mutually beneficial goals, our collaboration shall thrive. We shall demonstrate our strength in unity and inclusiveness in decision-making while working to improve the livelihoods of people in our countries and regions. It may be a long journey, but we are happy to walk together hand-in-hand.”