According to President Dr. Irfaan Ali, attaining other global goals, such as eradicating hunger and poverty, depends on providing vulnerable nations with the necessary financial assistance.
Today at the UN headquarters, the President addressed at a high-level political roundtable on sustainable development. He is one of the international leaders present in New York for the UN General Assembly this year.
“Guyana believes that significant progress can only be made in achieving the [Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)] if national efforts are matched by commitments being fulfilled, and if an international environment is created that fosters progress for all countries,” the President stated firmly.
He, like other leaders, spoke about the SDGs which outline 17 interlinked objectives that should eliminate poverty and foster peace and prosperity for all people.
And President Ali highlighted that Guyana has been making more progress in achieving these goals through investments in key sectors like education, health and security.
In fact, he said investment per capita in health has increased by 62 per cent, in education by 64 per cent, and security by 153 per cent over a three-year period.
These investments, Dr. Ali explained, can be linked to an expansion in the local economy which has been experiencing substantial growth largely attributed to a nascent oil and gas sector.
But Guyana’s fortune is not enjoyed by all countries and President Ali pointed out that vulnerable countries need further support.
In fact, he said the Latin America and Caribbean region alone needs about US$2.2 trillion more just to finance four critical global goals. So greater support, he posited, is crucial.
“… national commitment alone will not be enough to achieve the SDGs, especially for the poorest and most vulnerable.
“A major part of the problem is lack of progress with Goal 17 on global partnerships, and the failure of the international community to deliver on its commitments,” Dr. Ali said.
He also called on developed countries to adhere to their financial commitments including the US$100 billion sum that should have been provided to developing countries annually under the 2015 Paris Agreement.
Beyond financial commitments, President Ali said the international financial architecture itself is “out of sync” with the needs of developing countries and must be reformed. That architecture includes the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
President Ali was accompanied by Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Hugh Todd, Foreign Secretary Robert Persaud, Permanent Secretary at Foreign Affairs Ministry Elizabeth Harper, Guyana’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett, and Director of Projects at the Office of the President Marcia Nadir-Sharma.