Message by Senator the Honourable Kamina Johnson Smith, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade on the Occasion of the OACPS Day, Friday, 5th June 2020. Theme: “OACPS 3.0 -The Power of Change”

Jamaica joins the seventy-eight (78) Member States of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), in celebrating June 5 as ACP Day 2020. This year’s theme ‘OACPS 3.0 – The Power of Change’ is particularly fitting within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic that has severely impacted our world, fundamentally changing the way we live. As an Organisation, we are now required to revisit mind sets and perspectives that have largely shaped our thinking for decades.

For millions of people in our countries and across our regions, the scale of disruption to lives and livelihoods is daunting. Yet our innate survival instinct impels us to flow with the tide and adjust to the societal changes wrought by the pandemic. Change therefore, is an inevitable part of our existence as a people and equally so as a new Organisation.

The OACPS must remain a beacon of hope and an example of collective will to find opportunities in crisis, ever dedicated to the advancement of its Member States.

It was a welcome opportunity to have participated on June 3 in the First Extraordinary Inter-Sessional Summit of the OACP where the Organisation embraced this new paradigm, committed to confronting the challenges we face by assessing the lessons learnt from this pandemic.

The virtual meeting process for the ACP Summit highlighted the need for us all as developing nations to seize the opportunity to reconfigure our societies to work smarter and safer by further integrating technology and innovation in our productive activities. We must the use these tools to chart a new, more adaptive strategy going forward.

The Nairobi Declaration adopted by our Heads in December 2019 and the Communique adopted at the recently held Extraordinary Summit encourage us to build on a common foundation of partnerships among ourselves so that in the face of adversity we can be more resilient as a people and create a more sustainable and resilient future in which all our peoples can thrive.

As we celebrate 45 years of existence, let each of our states embrace the power of change, use the disruptions and lessons learnt to propel us forward to new levels of resilience, and indeed to become “the Change we want to see”.

Kamina Johnson Smith

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade