We celebrate the UN charter’s 77th anniversary this year, at a time when countries all over the world are facing a triple crisis of food, energy, and finance, while still battling climate change and the residual effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As we join with the Governments and people of the Caribbean to build resilience through innovation and partnerships and share responsibility for the world’s ‘To-Do’ list – our collective action must continue to turbo charge progress on the SDGs.
I want to seize this opportunity to thank the Governments of the region for their belief and commitment to multilateralism, and the values of peace and human rights.
Harnessing the wealth of natural resources, knowledge, and human resource potential across the region, must be our single focus now. The impact of our combined efforts must resonate among persons of all walks of life, especially those most in need.
It truly cannot be business as usual in these times of uncertainties. In his address to last month’s UN General Assembly, Secretary General Antonio Gutteres told world leaders attending the 77th session “our world is in peril and paralyzed, we cannot go on like this.” Let me assure you of the UN’s continued commitment to walk beside you to support you in addressing critical challenges, including social protection, youth empowerment, digital and green transition, livelihoods, and food security.
The UN team for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean will continue to advocate at the highest level, for the region to access the resources needed to effectively minimize vulnerabilities, reduce debt, and accelerate progress towards the SDGs, including at COP 27, now only one week away.
Over the past two years, under the UN Reform, resilience-building and access to financing have been central to our cooperation agenda.
Against the backdrop of unity and solidarity, the UN has initiated a new cycle of cooperation for the Caribbean, which prioritizes economic and people’s resilience to prevent crisis and invest in risk reduction; to support countries to adapt to the impact of climate change, and to build stronger institutions.
We have spearheaded critical partnerships to that effect, e.g., with the Caribbean Development Bank, to increase access to financing for SIDS and boost climate action. We have provided more integrated and tailored policy support, with Country Implementation Plans, which will ensure tailored strategic support for each country to respond as ONE UN to their needs and key priorities.
I am also trilled that two UN joint Offices have been opened in Antigua and Barbuda and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines this year, thereby reaffirming together with the Governments, commitment to the work of the UN, the 2030 Agenda, to the true value of multilateralism.
As we look toward the future, I remain full of hope when I witness how youth of the Caribbean are stepping up and making their voices heard. It is our responsibility to provide them with the space, and to foster their participation in productive sectors, creative industries, research, innovation and in decision-making.
I wish to commend the members of our own regional Youth Advisory Group who have been actively engaging with us, to ensure that youth perspectives are mainstreamed across our policies and programmes. Two members, Pierre Cooke Jr. and Ronelle King, must also be praised for being named among the Secretary General’s Scaling Up Nutrition Lead Group and Young Leaders for the Sustainable Development Goals. We commend and congratulate them.
By empowering youth, women, girls, LGBTI, the elderly, persons with disabilities and Indigenous populations in the Caribbean, we can further address the multidimensional issues that threaten progress in the region and ensure that we truly leave no one behind.
On this UN Day. Let us all commit to reinvigorate our efforts to ensure that ALL people EVERYWHERE are engaged, protected, and supported towards a brighter future.