By Pita Ligaiula in Luanda, Angola
The 10th Summit of Heads of States and Government of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS)has endorsed the Luanda declaration and supported Vanuatu’s draft resolution seeking climate justice at UN court.
This was confirmed by OACPS Secretary, General Georges Rebelo Chikoti in an interview with Journalists from Caribbean and Pacific.
“Well, I think the major outcome is that the heads of state have approved the Luanda declaration. In there you have all the commitment that the heads of state of the OACP member states have taken to first build a stronger ACP that will focus on their solidarity and their unity because they believe that there is an interest that binds them together.
“I think that you are looking at countries in the south who have relationship with the African continent. And not only that, they also feel that it’s time for them to develop this unity towards the fact that it’s important that their unity helps them meet beyond the signing of the upcoming post Cotonou agreement where they have defined the rules and the way they are going to build a partnership with the European Union.
“They have many other battles to carry may be on issues related to Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism(AMLCFT) issues. I think that is very important because some of our countries are unfairly listed on lists that affect the image of their countries. And our heads of state have reiterated that they will have to continue to keep this solidarity, this unity to make sure that they work together,” SG Chikoti said.
Chikoti explained the Summit also supported Vanuatu’s climate campaign to seek an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to protect the rights of people against the adverse effects of climate change.
“The issue of the opinion that should come from the International Court of Justice that was given by Vanuatu again, was supported by Heads of State to make sure that we have a resolution on this issue from the United Nations system. So I think that what I can say is that this summit has gone beyond what we personally expected first, it’s by attendance.
“One of the major issues is that when you look at issues related to climate change, and the way we have failed through many international conferences, very little has come. Although now we are told that a fund will be created that will help to at least sustain or pay for the damages and things like that,” said Chikoti.
He said funding for climate change has to be mobilised.
“So if we have failed until now, are we really sure that this money will count. So we’re now going to the COP15 on biodiversity and later on with COP28, but when you look at since the Paris agreement, we are failing to raise the money.
“We’re still behind with US$100 billion that should have been available but when you look at the challenges of climate change, and you look at how most of the island states, the small SIDs countries are living through that. You really need to have resources for that,” he said.
Chikoti said the challenge in terms of climate change is a big one for member states.
“And that’s why the unity of the OACPs is so important to talk with one voice, at least to make sure that we know what we’re talking about.
“We need to raise money. We need to look at the small countries of the Pacific. We look at the small countries of the Caribbean that as well. Even on the African continent where drought has displaced so many people on the African continent this year. You look at East Africa. Look at Somalia. How many people have been displaced not only because of the oil, but because of the drought,” said Chikoti.
He said the organisation will only be stronger if they remain united and speaks with one voice on issues affecting the bloc.
“So it is it has come out very clearly that our heads of states have taken it that year the unity that they have shall be seen as well.
“Actions, but particularly on those goals that they need to achieve to raise the awareness of other big nations during this summit. I think we have had about 16 Prime Ministers with four presidents and we had so many ministers and Ambassadors representing their countries.
“So the commitment that has been taken seems to me to show that, indeed, the OACP as member states need to work a little bit more on their unity and to make sure that they can reach some of their goals and one of them has got to be the agreement, which we think shall be signed before the middle term of 2023,” said Chikoti