Sustainable Development Goals an important tool in Development Agenda

-President Ali assures at Virtual Island Summit 2020

His Excellency Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, today, affirmed that Guyana remains committed to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and is in the process of aligning them to its development agenda.  The President made these statements in his keynote address at the Grand Opening of the Eastern Hemisphere Session of the Virtual Island Summit 2020.  

The Head of State said while Guyana is not an island state,  the country shares many of the vulnerabilities of small island states and is just as susceptible to the effects of climate change,  natural disasters and economic shocks. 

“I am pleased to participate in this Virtual Island Summit 2020. It provides small states – especially small island states – with a platform for the exchange of experiences in their progression towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” the President said.

The Grand Opening session outlined the focus of the summit and included sessions on how the island states are implementing the SDGs to meet the needs of the future generations; how they are dealing with the impact of the Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, and how island communities are responding to a wide range of challenges.

President Ali noted that while Guyana remains committed to the SDGs, the global pandemic and climate change pose critical threats to the country attaining its goals.

“It is beyond the scope of this presentation to examine individually, the lessons and key challenges associated with Guyana’s implementation of the SDGs; however… we view the SDGs as an important tool in helping us achieve our own national development objectives.  We believe that this is true for all Small Island Developing States (SIDS),” President Ali said.

The Head of State then provided a synopsis of the approach Guyana intends to take in incorporating the SDGs into public policy in the fields of education, health, food, security and educational diversification and poverty reduction. He also emphasised the importance of holding fast to the principles of the SDGs, even as even as small states grapple with challenges.

In this regard, President Ali said Guyana has made numerous strides in its response to the global pandemic and in climate change, through the Low Carbon Development Strategy. He also acknowledged the importance of the Summit in providing greater recognition to the contributions which small states are making in addressing global challenges.

The Summit brings together policymakers, development partners, entrepreneurs, academics and leaders of non-governmental organisations from more than one hundred  island communities including the Arctic, Caribbean, Europe, Indian Ocean, Pacific Islands, South America and beyond from September 7 to 13 to discuss a diverse range of viewpoints.  Organised by Island Innovation, the Summit will cover all 17 SDGs in addition to other topics pertinent to island communities.

The Summit, the first of its kind, will allow attendees to learn from world-leading experts from diverse backgrounds, about the latest projects being deployed in island communities, with applications far beyond. Each session will be interactive with opportunities to ask questions and make connections.

The 2020 edition of the Virtual Island Summit is themed ‘Sharing knowledge for resilient, sustainable and prosperous islands worldwide’.

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