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Critical discussions on climate crisis, financing for developing nations held at UN General Assembly

wide view of projections in the General Assembly Hall as Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley (on screen) of Barbados and SDG Advocate Co-Chair, addresses the SDG Moment 2022. (UN Photo/Manuel Elías)

The United Nations General Assembly’s 77th meeting ended today with World Leader’s having been engaged in vital dialogue, specifically in regards to sustainability and the climate crisis.

Heads of State and Government explored solutions to the intertwined global challenges under the theme, “A watershed moment: transformative solutions to interlocking challenges” from September 20 – 26.

This 77th meeting of the United Nations General Assembly General Debate once again highlighted that the Caribbean and developing countries are most at risk of facing negative impacts of the climate crisis with more efforts needed globally to help mitigate these effects.

President Irfaan Ali engaging World Leaders at the UN General Assembly (Photo: UN)

President Irfaan Ali attended the conference where he announced plans to allocate 20 percent (or one-fifths) of the Guyana’s national budget to expand and improve Guyana’s education sector.

While engaging world leaders, he also called for re-examination of the financing gap and the debt portfolio of developing countries to open fiscal space and create an opportunity for recovery and attaining the Sustainable Development Goals.

“As a consequence of the pandemic, approximately 97 million more persons are living on less than $1.90 per day, significantly increasing the global poverty rate and inequalities. The developing world lost revenues and income that were earmarked for the achievement of many sustainable development goals, pushing us further away from our 20/30 targets.”

Mia Mottley, Barbados’s prime minister, speaks during the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Sept. 22, 2022. Photographer: Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg

Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Amor Mottley called for an overhaul of the Global Finance System which excludes developing countries, while proposing an alternative system developed in her own country.

“We had the good fortune of collecting in Barbados, a large number of persons from civil society and academia at the beginning of August, end of July. We settled on what we have come to call the Bridgetown Agenda. Because we believe it to be a Bridgetown Agenda for peace, a Bridgetown Agenda for prosperity, a Bridgetown Agenda inspired by love of humanity.”

A major outcome of this year’s Assembly was Denmark’s historic pledge to be the first country to provide funding to developing nations that have suffered “loss and damage” caused by climate disruptions.

The country will provide $13 million US dollars to Africa's Sahel region and other vulnerable areas affected by the climate crisis.

Denmark’s development minister Flemming Møller Mortensen said: “It is grossly unfair that the world’s poorest should suffer the most from the consequences of climate change, to which they have contributed the least. With this new agreement, we are putting action behind words,”

Last year at the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow (COP26) more than 130 developing countries demanded financial support for climate victims, but the initiative was blocked by the US, the European Union, and other rich countries.

COP27 convenes this year from November 6 to 18 in Egypt, with Guyana to be represented among other countries. Key focus areas will be the promise of innovation and clean technologies as well as the centrality of water and agriculture to the climate crisis. The role of science will also be highlighted in addition to biodiversity loss, energy transition, decarbonisation efforts and finance.


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