• Says strong leadership, multilateralism needed to fight climate change

Georgetown, Guyana (February 10, 2021) His Excellency Dr Irfaan Ali today called for more collaborative and collective global efforts to help nations secure a better future for their people and the planet.

In his passionate address at the 20th edition of the World Sustainable Development Summit, the Guyanese President pointed out that the world is ever evolving and that concerted actions should be taken to face the existing challenges.

“The time has come for us to redefine our common future, to reaffirm our common values, to address the extant global challenges we face, and to work together to create a better future for our people and planet.”

The President expressed gratitude to The Energy and Resource Institute (TERI) for sustaining the forum and assured his audience that Guyana remains committed to its obligations under the Rio Conventions, and the Paris Agreement.

“Over the years, we have demonstrated this commitment in our efforts towards protecting the environment, conserving biodiversity, tackling climate change, and moving the country towards a sustainable development path. Through our Low Carbon Development Strategy we have been able to protect and maintain forests in an effort to reduce global carbon emissions while deriving payments for forest climate services which our forests provide to the world.”

According to the Head of State, the revenues earned from these services have been invested to enhance growth and promote sustained livelihoods, along a low carbon trajectory.

“I believe that if we are to turn the tide in the fight against climate change, there must be a commitment to achieving the targets identified by the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and to limit the rise in global temperature to well below 2˚C.”

Dr Ali added that all nations must accelerate change towards low-carbon development pathways. He said that technology remains critical in achieving this objective.

The Guyanese President pointed out that these recommendations are not new and that the last time Guyana addressed the summit, it was by then President Dr Bharrat Jagdeo, who had said that “the time has come for societies to utilise available technology and innovation to use less and achieve more, while at the same time pursuing incentives to align profit with sustainable practices”. 

 President Ali said that point is still very relevant today especially since technological solutions necessary to increase efficiency and productivity and to reduce our environmental carbon footprint are already available to us.

“What is required is greater political will to share and to upscale the deployment and use of these technologies.”

 In this regard, the President explained that it is critical for governments, the private sector and organisations such as TERI, to facilitate technology transfer and uptake.

The President said that the twin challenges of the global pandemic and natural disasters have reversed, in many ways, the gains of the developing world in achieving the sustainable development goals. 

He thanked India for being a beacon of hope and the country’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, for demonstrating good global leadership.

“For us to achieve the target of climate change we need strong leadership, commitment to multilateralism, and mobilisation of resources, championed by responsible leadership. India has demonstrated that it is committed to such leadership and Guyana welcomes this commitment.”

The President also thanked Prime Minister Modi and the People of India, on behalf of CARICOM, for sharing 500,000 vaccines with the region.

Guyana has been participating in the Summit since 2011 which has allowed the country to strengthen its relationship with TERI and the Government and people of India. 

The 2021 summit was held under the theme “Redefining our Common Future: Safe and Secure Environment for All”.