New ECS Ambassador challenges ACP group to be “bold”

GIS Dominica Press Release

In her maiden speech to the ACP’s Committee of Ambassadors, Dr. Len Ishmael, the Ambassador-designate to the Kingdom of Belgium and Head of Mission to the European Union for the Eastern Caribbean States, made a forceful call for solidarity and for the group to seek opportunity amid global challenges and change.

Dr. Ishmael used the introductory speech to illustrate how the OECS’ own innovative integration ideas have helped to put the region on a more strategic footing in its development pursuits. This strategic change management exercise at the OECS level has proven necessary in the face of an unrelenting global financial crisis and geopolitical shifts. The Ambassador-designate therefore called on the ACP to recalibrate during its own reflection period by, “Doing away with stale debates and dogma which were right for a different time and place.” She encouraged fellow Ambassadors and ACP Officials to opt for, “Bold ideas, innovative thinking and new vision,” instead. International cooperation, she said was also necessary to tackle many of the challenges and referenced the global response that is required to address and adapt to climate change.

As the ACP moves forward, Dr. Ishmael also encouraged a new architecture for the group, which has the, “Possibility to result in the carving of an institution which is alert, dynamic, forward thinking; elegant and lean in its structure but nimble in its operations; a political force to be reckoned with across all fora; an institution for all times, ready to face the future with every confidence.”

Dr. Ishmael takes up her new post in Brussels as the ACP Group is grappling with key decisions regarding the changing EU development policy orientations, the post-2015 agenda, and the upcoming revision of the ACP-EU Cotonou Partnership Agreement as well as the expiry of the agreement in 2020. She committed the joint Eastern Caribbean States Mission to be a part of the ACP’s journey and signalled the region’s commitment to unity and solidarity.

The Eastern Caribbean States Mission in Brussels forms part of the OECS’ programme of joint diplomatic mission and undertakes bilateral and multilateral engagements in Europe on behalf of four Member States of the OECS, namely Dominica, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Dr. Ishmael was most recently the Director General of the OECS Secretariat and comes to the post with a long and sterling career in development and diplomacy.

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