African, Caribbean and Pacific States should engage more among themselves and collectively review and address issues affecting them especially issues relating to peace, security, climate change and debt relief, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.
Prof. Osinbajo stated this today when received the Secretary General of the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), Mr Georges Rebelo Pinto Chikoti, on a courtesy visit to the Presidential Villa.
“I am pleased that you are taking the path of proactively engaging with member states. I think this is really crucial because as with any of the multilateral organizations, we need to not only be constantly engaged with member states, we also need to understand what it is that is going on.
“This fits into your strategic objective which is to engage and to modernize the organization and to look for alternative means of financing and be more efficient, it is very commendable and I am very pleased to see that it is a step you are taking,” the VP said
Commending the organization for its efforts and commitment to restructure for better service delivery, the VP noted that “member states are happier when resources are directed at programmes that benefit them directly.
According to him “just looking at the thematic area that the organization has outlined, some require much attention, the theme on peace and security, climate change and environmental sustainability.”
Specifically on the issue of Climate Change, the Vice President urged developing countries to be more forceful on its position, stating that “we may be shortchanging ourselves by making commitments to carbon neutrality within the time specified by wealthier countries and not taking into account our challenges and peculiarities.”
Prof. Osinbajo then urged the OACP, being an organization that is concerned with South-South collaboration, to “champion some of the important themes on climate change and especially the perspective of the developing countries.”
The VP added that though the issue of debt cancellation for developing countries is gaining traction, “it is crucial for African states to be bold and forceful in its advocacy.
“I think that one of the major initiatives that the global South has to really promote now is how to be able to take care of its health needs (of course with as much support that we can get from the wealthier countries).”
Earlier in his remarks, Mr Georges Rebelo Pinto Chikoti said the visit to Nigeria was part of his tour of member states of the OACPS to speak about ongoing reforms and restructuring in the organization.
He said the OACPS is now making efforts to secure new alliances and strengthen strategic partnerships especially with the European Union and others to achieve set objectives.
The OACPS Secretary General said the organization has constituted an inter-regional coordination committee, a business forum, cultural foundation, a parliamentary assembly, among others, to ensure efficiency in the running of the body.
He acknowledged Nigeria’s contributions to member states through technical cooperation over the years, and commended the leadership of President Buhari and the Vice President in actualization of goals of the country’s Technical Aid Corps programme.
The Secretary General was accompanied on the visit by the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Amb. Zubairu Dada; Nigeria’s Ambassador to Belgium, Amb. Obinna Onowu, among other officials from the OACPS and Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs.