President Ali calls for realistic, balanced approach to climate change goals at UN

President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali delivered a compelling speech at the 6th Plenary meeting for the General Debate of the 78th Session at the United Nations, urging the global community to adopt a realistic and balanced approach to combatting climate change and achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

The General Debate of the United Nations General Assembly is the opportunity for Heads of State and Government to come together at the UN Headquarters to discuss world issues in New York, USA.

His Excellency Mohamed Irfaan Ali address the 6th Plenary meeting for the General Debate of the 78th Session at United Nations.

The debate is being held under the theme “Rebuilding trust and reigniting global solidarity: Accelerating action on the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals towards peace, prosperity, progress and sustainability for all.”

In his address, President Irfaan Ali emphasized the importance of multilateralism in addressing global challenges, particularly climate change. He noted the widespread and devastating effects of climate change and highlighted the critical role that multilateral cooperation plays in finding solutions.

“I remain convinced that multilateralism remains the most effective approach to address these challenges, foremost of which is climate change. We are all experiencing its devastating effects. The difference, however, is our capacity to respond. It is well established that those bearing the brunt of the climate phenomena have made no contribution to the current crisis. Small Island Developing and low-lying coastal States like Guyana are among the hardest hit and require adequate financing to address the attendant effects,”

Despite achieving net-zero emissions, Guyana continues to pursue a Low Carbon Development Strategy aimed at sustainable resource utilization for inclusive and equitable development. The head of state stressed the importance of Guyana’s vast forests in mitigating climate change on a global scale.

“As custodians of a rainforest the size of England and Scotland combined, we are of the view that the lack of financing for standing forests suggests they are worth more dead than alive… That is why we support the expansion of financial mechanisms that appropriately value the environmental services provided by forests including through the carbon market,”

Guyana’s advocacy efforts have resulted in the issuance of 33.4 million tons of carbon credits, generating $750 million for the period from 2016 to 2030. The President also highlighted Guyana’s commitment to a clean energy transition, aiming for over 80 percent reliance on renewable energy by 2030, funded in part by revenues from oil and gas resources.

Recognizing the environmental value of standing forests, Guyana supports financial mechanisms that appropriately value the services provided by forests through initiatives like the carbon market.

“My country, Guyana, is blessed with the best of both worlds, that is, the ability to lead on climate change and the use of our expansive oil and gas reserves to contribute to the advancement and development of our country and region,” the president noted.

The President’s address also included tackling several other global challenges including Global Food Crisis and Health, Peace and Security, International Law and Territorial Disputes and Support for Indigenous Peoples.

President Ali concluded by reaffirming Guyana’s solidarity with the global community, its commitment to multilateralism, and its readiness to collaborate with countries of all sizes for peace and prosperity. The speech emphasized the importance of realistic and balanced approaches to addressing climate change and global challenges.

President Ali was accompanied by Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Hugh Todd; Foreign Secretary, Robert Persaud; Permanent Secretary at Foreign Affairs Ministry, Elizabeth Harper; Guyana’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett, and Director of Projects at the Office of the President, Marcia Nadir-Sharma.