President of Dominica His Excellency Charles Savarin has issued a call to developed partners in the United Nation family to provide greater assistance by way of funding to Small Island Developing States (SIDS), in their quest of building resilience. His comments came while addressing the UN’s seventy-seventh session of the General Assembly last evening -September 21- which was held under the theme ‘A watershed moment: transformative solutions to interlocking challenges.’
Speaking on the theme, the president noted that it is “analogous” to the approach and trajectory outlined by the UN towards the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which each member state has individually embraced as the ideal to be universally pursued and achieved by 2030. He however stressed that SIDS are more challenged than most to achieve these goals. “The international community has pledged its support; however the question is to what extent has tangible support been forthcoming,” Savrin questioned. “The challenge is to go beyond promises, commitments, and pledges and to effective delivery and implementation.”
Savarin went on to declare that given the present threat that the world is currently facing, more decisive, sustainable, and corrective action needs to be taken to reduce carbon emissions into the atmosphere. “For this very reason we continue to champion the call for collective global action to build the resilience of our Small Island States to natural disasters which are triggered and exacerbated by our changing climate,” he said. “We must lay a path for development that is sustainable and people-focused,” Savrinadded.
According to the President, over several years SIDS like Dominica have stood at this very podium, and many across the world seeking to convince the developed world to change destructive practices that threaten the planet, lives and livelihoods. Yet he opined that “despite our best efforts, not enough corrective action is being taken, not enough support is being given to us to adapt and build resilience to the impacts of climate change that are already upon us.”
As such, the President called on developed partners in the UN to recognize and accept their responsibility which he believes should translate to a commitment to provide the funding that is required to enable our small states to become resilient. “This must be readily accessible and available to all of us on grant and concessional terms with the only criteria for access being our vulnerability to extreme weather events,” he said.
In light of the threat that the world face against global warming, Savarin reiterated Dominica’s call to the international community to prioritize at cop27 the disbursement of climate financing to SIDs and to support their adaptation and resiliency efforts. He remarked that such action will reflect more equitably and justice-oriented responses toward fulfilling the goals and promises of sustainable development. Furthermore, the president stated that the continuous call for higher levels of commitment toward climate justice must be reflected in tangible and effective responses.
He took the opportunity to commend the Government of the People’s Republic of China for its commitment to add a further 42 billion dollars to the new global development and South-South cooperation fund which he states will assist countries like Dominica that are on the front line of the negative impacts of climate change to accelerate the realization of the 2030 agenda.
During his speech, the head of state expresses concerns for the people of Haiti which he states demands greater international attention. Savrin pointed out that Haiti, which was once the wealthiest colony in the Americas, has now been reduced to being the poorest country in the western hemisphere, mainly due to the 7.0 magnitude earthquake which struck the country in 2010.
With an estimated 1.3 million people suffering from food insecurity in Haiti and some 4.6 million from limited access to basic food supplies, Savrin urged the United Nations family to forge an effective unified response that brings to bare the necessary resources- “financial, technical, human and otherwise”- to alleviate the sufferings of the Haitian people.
In addition, the president noted that the severe and voluminous impacts of the various challenges that Dominica and the rest of the region have been experiencing in recent times highlight the importance of multilateralism. “As we raise the various issues confronting our individual states and share our hopes fears and expectations let us seek also to offer solutions to our various problems as a united international community eager to realize a sustainable transformative and fairer future for all,” he encouraged.
He went on to place on record his gratitude to all the international partners and friendly governments who have stood beside Dominica “particularly through our darkest days,” as he declared that “our journey is one of building back better sustainability and resilience and with your continued support we look forward to a brighter future in the days ahead.”