All hands-on deck to counter climate change

─UN General Assembly hears

DPI, Guyana, Saturday, September 28, 2019

As the 74th General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) winds down, Guyana has added its voice to calls for measures to mitigate the gruelling impact of climate change and the vulnerability under which many countries find themselves.

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Karen Cummings.

During the General Debate on Saturday evening, Minister of Foreign Affairs the Honourable Dr. Karen Cummings underscored the existential threat posed by climate change and the demand for the urgent efforts of all actors.

“The science is clear and the recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has reaffirmed that the agreed goals for carbon emissions set out in the Paris Accord are not sufficient to slow the rate of global warming and additional reductions are now required to slow and reverse impacts of climate change,” Dr Cummings told the meeting of world leaders, diplomats and advocates.

The Minister noted that Guyana is one such vulnerable country and fully understands the risks posed by climate change since it experiences damages to its coastal zone, frequency of flooding in the hinterland, and extreme meteorological events.

“Guyana ranks highly among countries most vulnerable to natural disasters and this compels urgency on our part to institute adaptation and disaster risk reduction measures,” she stated.

In this regard, the minister reported that the country is pursuing transformative action to secure its advance as a modern, cohesive and prosperous state, including through the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SDGs.

“Guyana has incorporated the Agenda into our national development strategy – the Green State Development Strategy (GSDS): Vision 2040.  The Green State Development Strategy is Guyana’s road map to becoming a ‘green state’. It emphasises the protection of our environment, enhancing prosperity and social cohesion and laying the foundation for the involvement of every citizen in sustaining a low-carbon trajectory of growth that is inclusive, diversified and climate-resilient,” she relayed.

However, beyond merely responding as an affected country, Guyana has long committed to exercising leadership in pursuing actions to help mitigate anthropogenic climate change.

“Our experience has shown that whether in combating climate impacts, expanding economic benefits or consolidating democratic norms extreme vigilance is required to safeguard hard-earned and cherished gains. Indeed, they must be attended with great care to avoid reversals.”

Meanwhile, Minister Cummings also presented Guyana’s strong record of achievements at the national and international levels. She reported that significant progress has been made in consolidating democratic norms and the rule of law and the respect for the rights and freedom of all citizens. “Here again, it is evident that they consider all the progress realszed under the Coalition government cannot be taken for granted,” she told the meeting.