Guyana pushes for OAS to increase role in climate change mitigation

…says restructuring needed to better fulfil purpose

With the world facing challenges on several fronts including COVID-19 and climate change, the Guyana Government has challenged the Organisation of American States (OAS) as an organisation to restructure and play a more prominent role in its advocacy on the global stage.
During the 51st Regular Session of the OAS General Assembly, Foreign Minister Hugh Todd called for a restructuring of the organisation. As he put it, it is important for the OAS to be fit for purpose and able to better respond to global dynamics. Todd also made it clear that Guyana values the ideal of multilateralism and the important role the OAS has to play.
“Guyana values multilateralism and the role of the OAS in the hemisphere, as the premier regional organisation for constructive dialogue and cooperation. We reaffirm our commitment to the four pillars of the OAS. Democracy, human rights, integral development and multidimensional security.”

Guyana’s delegation to the virtual OAS meeting. Foreign Minister Hugh Todd is seated in the centre

“In the same vein, Guyana recognises the need for this organisation to be fit for purpose and for necessary restructuring of the organisation to better respond to the challenges of the present and the future,” Todd explained.
Todd also urged more focus on increasing vaccinations and access to vaccines across the hemisphere. Citing the havoc COVID-19 has wreaked around the world and the percentage of vaccine coverage cited by the Pan American Health Organisation/World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO), the Minister said that no country should be left behind when it comes to vaccines.
“Addressing the challenges exacerbated by the pandemic and fostering a sustainable, equitable and resilient recovery is critical for the future of the Americas. Our immediate task is to arrest the ravages of the pandemic,” the Minister said.
“Vaccine equity and solidarity are imperative in this undertaking. PAHO/WHO has indicated that the region is broadly on track to achieve 40 per cent vaccine coverage in every country, with some exceptions by the end of this year. However, we must intensify efforts to increase the rate of vaccine coverage in our hemisphere and ensure that no country is left behind.”
Todd meanwhile recalled the sentiments President Dr Irfaan Ali, who during the 26th session of the Conference of Parties (COP26) called on world leaders to ensure that the coming decade will be one of the decisive actions that will tackle the current climate crisis to change the world’s present trajectory.
To achieve such goals, the Foreign Minister informed the General Assembly of the OAS that Guyana will be guided by the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) as the country’s vehicle for mitigating and adapting to climate change and contributing to global climate action.
In light of the twentieth anniversary of the adoption of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, Minister Todd reaffirmed Guyana’s abiding commitment to democracy and the rule of law, to safeguarding human rights and fundamental freedoms, to respecting the will of the people.
He also placed on record once again, sincere appreciation to the OAS for the support provided to Guyana during last year’s electoral stalemate resulting in the will of the Guyanese people being respected and democracy and the rule of law triumphing.
Guyana’s delegation was led by Todd and included Permanent Secretary, Ambassador Elisabeth Harper; Ambassador Samuel Hinds; Guyana’s Ambassador to the United States and Permanent Representative to the OAS, Ambassador George Talbot; Director of the Department of Americas and Guyana’s Ambassador to Caricom and other Foreign Service Officers from the Ministry.
The OAS is a US-based, 35-member multilateral body that deals primarily with issues in this hemisphere.