President Ali urges UN to mobilise resources to alleviate poverty

– lauds UN as “distinctive and unrivalled force for good”

Guyana’s President Dr Irfaan Ali, during his maiden address to the United Nations General Assembly on Monday, pointed out that despite all the attempts to combat global poverty, it is very disheartening to see millions still suffering.

President Dr Irfaan Ali during his maiden address to the United Nations General Assembly

“As we reflect on the state of our world, seventy-five years after the bold step to establish the United Nations, it is disheartening to note that millions of the world’s people are still living in poverty. Eradicating this scourge remains the greatest global challenge and the first priority for our Group. We must remind ourselves that poverty entails more than a lack of income or productive resources for sustainable livelihoods. It affects many aspects of life and it impedes the achievement of many of the Sustainable Development Goals,” the President said during his virtual address on behalf of Guyana and the Group of 77 and China.
The Group of 77 is the largest intergovernmental organisation of developing countries in the United Nations, which provides the means for the countries of the South to articulate and promote their collective economic interests and enhance their joint negotiating capacity on all major international economic issues within the United Nations system, and promote South-South cooperation for development. Guyana is currently the Chair of the Group.
The UN General Assembly was held virtually under the theme “The future we want, the United Nations we need: reaffirming our collective commitment to multilateralism” to commemorate the body’s 75th anniversary.
However, President Ali noted that it is imperative to recommit to ideals that ensure the dignity and worth of every person is respected, and to foster the attainment of social progress and better standards of living for all. He noted that it is imperative that strong and positive signals are sent in an effort to reassure the world of the UN’s commitment to multilateralism and our resolve to strive for peace, justice and development.
“Mr President, just five years ago, we adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals as a blueprint and compass to address these challenges. We cannot fail in this aspiration. The 2030 Agenda reflects the major poverty-environmental challenges facing the world’s population: depleted natural capital, climate vulnerability, gender inequality, rural-urban migration and growing resource demands – all of which disproportionately harm the livelihoods and well-being of the poor,” he said.
In addition, Ali posited that the global COVID-19 pandemic has undermined many of the developmental gains over the past decades and brought, to the fore, development bottlenecks faced by developing countries. He explained that those issues range from insufficient financing, inadequate market access for goods and services, the expanding digital divide, restrictions in accessing needed pharmaceuticals and medical supplies and reductions in revenue from tourism and exports, among others.
Ali told the UN that member nations should seek to strengthen solidarity to address the pandemic, commit to take forward the 2030 Agenda and intensify global partnerships. He reaffirmed the Group’s position that the imposition of “unilateral coercive economic measures against developing countries is an impediment to economic and social development and to dialogue and understanding among countries.”
“To this end, the Group of 77 and China calls for more resources and actions to be mobilised in a timely manner to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. We are committed to taking the actions needed for coordinated and comprehensive multilateral response to the development challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, including initiatives on financing for development in the era of COVID-19 and beyond, aimed at producing a menu of policy options necessary to resolve the crisis and to ensure resilience,” he added.
The Guyanese President said that the United Nations is a platform where every Member State has an equal stake in the decision-making process influencing the direction that the organisation takes on the variety of issues on which we engage.
He noted that the UN’s promotion of respect for international law has been a compelling disincentive to unnecessary and unmitigated conflict that has nurtured the peaceful coexistence of states, including through the respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all states.
“We look forward to the UN continuing to address the challenges and needs of our time in order to live up to its own lofty ideals and promise. Global challenges of our day such as climate change and the impacts of COVID-19 must be successfully countered. We must take urgent action to equip the organisation to implement its many decisions, resolutions and outcomes. The debate today in relation to the Security Council and making it more legitimate, effective and representative must be resolved expeditiously,” Ali said.
Guyana was admitted to membership in the United Nations by resolution on September 20, 1966, during the 21st regular session of the General Assembly. Since then the country has maintained an active presence and visible profile in the organisation. (G2)