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Statement by His Excellency Mr. Michael R. Ten-Pow, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Guyana in the General Debate of the Second Committee - 4 October 2016

Wednesday, 05 October 2016
H.E. Ambassador Michael Ten-Pow
Second Committee, United Nations


Thank you Mr. Chairman,

The delegation of Guyana extends warmest congratulations to you on your election as Chair of the Committee and wishes to assure you of its full support as you spearhead our work. I also wish to congratulate the other members of the Bureau on their election and to wish them success in their work.

My delegation aligns itself with the statements made by the distinguished representatives of the Kingdom of Thailand on behalf of the G77 and China, of Antigua and Barbuda on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), and of Maldives on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS). Guyana nevertheless wishes to offer a few additional reflections of its own.

The seventy-first session of the General Assembly builds on the historic global Agreements of 2015, including the Sendai Framework, the Addis Ababa Agenda for Action, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. As we endeavor to give full effect to these commitments, the role and work of the Second Committee assume renewed significance. Important priorities in this regard include the mainstreaming of sustainable development, creating a more coherent and conducive international environment, and paying greater attention to the circumstances and challenges of States with particular needs.   

The reality of our growing global interdependence is inescapable. It is seen in the elevated levels of migration, the impact of climate change, the ravages of poverty and hunger, and in unsustainable patterns of consumption and production. Indeed, the lessons of uneven social, economic and environmental development make a compelling argument that sustainability is of increasing consequence for all countries and peoples.

Mr. Chairman,

Against this background, more account must be taken of the realities of small-island and low-lying coastal developing States and of middle income countries and the special challenges they face. Often, these countries make disproportionate contributions to our collective efforts to address global challenges but face crippling difficulties in their pursuit of development - difficulties that are compounded by their constraints of size and geography and by their lack of resources and capacity.

Progress made by these countries is often too easily reversed as a result of climate change, natural disasters, or external economic shocks. It may be the impact of a single hurricane, the mere change in a banking regulation, or the introduction of a new trading arrangement, all of which are beyond their power to control or to mitigate. Efforts to “graduate” these countries from concessionary financial assistance based solely on per capita GDP fail to take account of these realities. Moreover, the accumulation of unsustainable levels of debt by many small island developing States preclude the unavoidable investments in the social, economic and productive infrastructure that are needed to build resilience to exogenous shocks.

Guyana therefore urges the creation of an appropriately supportive and responsive international framework for addressing such factors as climate change, trade, debt, international tax cooperation, food security, and natural disasters to enable these countries to make the necessary investments, to develop resilience, and to incentivise sustainable development.  

Another priority is to maintain an environment of security and stability, which is a crucial prerequisite for realizing the development aspirations of developing countries. In this regard, the value of global norms in laying the foundations for the enjoyment of all human rights by all, the rule of law at all levels, including in relations between States, and the peaceful settlement of disputes between States based on the rule of law cannot be underestimated.

Mr. Chairman,

Guyana is committed to achieving the good life for all of its citizens through the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. The good life, for us, means the absence of poverty, the achievement of equality, and the creation of an enlightened citizenry through education. Guyana is thus striving to implement the SDGs in a holistic manner and by focusing on entry points in such areas as education, food security, energy, and infrastructure, which can provide synergistic benefits for implementation of the Agenda as a whole.

Our longstanding recognition of the importance of sustainable development and our concrete contributions to its pursuit have distinguished Guyana as an emerging ‘green State.’ We are committed to the interlocking objectives of the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement. Guyanese live with the constant reality of the adverse impacts of climate change, including the constant peril of rising sea levels. We therefore signed and ratified the Paris Agreement at an early stage and look forward to its early entry into force. In continuing to work for the establishment of a ‘green State’, we count on the full partnership of the international community.

Mr. Chairman,

The full, timely and effective implementation of the major Agreements of 2015 and of the SDGs in particular demand our best efforts and will undoubtedly challenge us all to transcend “business as usual” approaches. It also calls for even greater vigilance in preserving and discharging the important functions of the Committee as a forum for the proactive consideration, consolidation and formulation of policies tailored to the pressing development challenges of our day.

Guyana welcomes and supports the work of the Committee as it pursues these objectives and we look forward to the advancement of its work this year under your distinguished stewardship.    

I thank you.