Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, president of Guyana made a robust case for developing countries in his debut address to the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday.
In his virtually-delivered speech, President Ali posited that, “developing countries continue to face constraints associated by limited access to development financing. Improved access to such financing is vital for the realisation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.”
The composition of the UN Security Council was one of the first areas of change the President championed in order to amplify the voice of developing countries.
“The Security Council in particular, should be reformed to increase the number of developing countries that are permanent members.”
According to President Ali, reforms at the UN level are necessary to enable developing states to access financing to meet development targets.
While calling for member states to press toward their obligations on international agreements, Dr. Ali urged that there be a reversal of any setbacks in achieving those commitments.
Additionally, in applauding the ongoing work of UN development system, Dr. Ali noted, “we believe, however, that there should be greater focus and reforms that are tailored to allow the UN to respond adequately to existing and emerging gaps in development and to find solutions to existing threats.”
To this end, Dr. Ali praised Guyana’s pledge to fostering multilateralism which has allowed the nation to be the Chair of The Group of 77 and China.
“Our statement to the world is that a state’s capacity for leadership is not constrained by size,” the President held.
“History must not find us victims of inaction or succumbing to failure. Multilateralism is the pathway to achieving our ends. We must collectively work to preserve this instrument and to strengthen the United Nations as we build a better world for our generations and those to follow,” the President continued.
Nevertheless, President Ali lobbied for an assessment of the UN’s development agenda and a recommitment of countries to its aims.
On this note, the President stated his dissatisfaction with the lack of, “a robust outcome document” at the UN’s Economic and Social Council and High Political Forum on sustainable development this year.
“My government believes that both the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council should play a more proactive role in catalysing partnership and should serve as platforms for ensuring coherence in the joint economic, environmental and socio-political initiatives being undertaken,” Dr. Ali underscored.
Concerning Guyana’s ongoing case before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the border controversy with Venezuela, Dr. Ali furthered the call for the protection of international bodies that support all nations.
Furthermore, on the COVID-19 front, the President advanced that there be greater collaboration and support as the pandemic impacts the work.
While thanking UN bodies for supporting Guyana in the fight against COVID-19, the President iterated, “we look forward to increase international cooperation to contain, mitigate and defeat the pandemic.”
On the topical issue of climate change Dr. Ali touted Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy as the policy through which the country’s development would take place.
The President mentioned, “the strategy will ensure that we fulfil our Nationally Determined Contributions and place our country along a path of sustainable and climate resilient development.”
Dr. Ali also extended his appreciation toward the UN for its role in the protection of democracy in Guyana.
“I take this opportunity to commend the international community, including the United Nations, for defending the democratic rights of our citizens.”