I applaud the President of the United Nations General Assembly for convening this High-level Thematic Debate on delivering climate action for people, planet and prosperity. It is a welcome curtain-raiser as we approach the 26th Session of the Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.  

Climate change continues to be one of humanity’s foremostexistential threats. Despite setbacks occasioned by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, global greenhouse gas emissions have rebounded.

Even more disturbing is that the world is not on track to achieve the global temperature goals set under the Paris Agreement on climate change. Science has emphasized the importance and urgency of limiting global warming to 1.5 °C by the end of this century to avoid irreversible changes in our environment. 

Deep emissions reductions are needed, and needed now if we are to limit global warming to 1.5 °C by the end of the century. We must deliver an outcome at COP26 that demonstrates our resolve to protect human life and biodiversity.

Delayed climate action is unthinkable. We are faced with no other choice but to act now or consign humanity to doom. Failure to ramp up our overall ambitions will result in higher and unbearable economic and environmental costs.

The failure to agree to and take bold and ambitious action will be tragic for all, especially for Small Island Developing and Low Lying Coastal States. Already small-island developing and low lying coastal States are threatened by dangerously rising sea levels and extreme weather events, including flooding, droughts and more intense hurricanes, and by the destruction of critical economic assets. • COP26 must restore confidence in international cooperation such as that which led to the historic Paris Agreement on climate change. • COP26 must manifest a revitalized spirit of international solidarity and more equitable sharing of responsibilities, particularly on the part of the world’s largest emitters. • COP26 must be underscored by an emphasis on implementation and honouring commitments. • COP26 must result in decisions that would allow for the transfer of financing and technologies to support mitigation and adaptation in small states. 

Guyana will continue to play its part in reducing emissions and providing the world with critical climate and ecosystem services.  Our Low Carbon Development Strategy stands as a model of the significant contributions small States can make in promoting climate action aimed and reducing emissions and increasing climate resilience. Guyana is expanding its Low Carbon Development Strategy into a comprehensive framework to include protection of biodiversity, freshwater management and the protection of the marine economy. 

The fate of humanity is in our hands. We must not disappoint. The time for action is now!

I thank you.