Guyana to host virtual G77 summit on Thursday

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New Permanent Representative of Guyana to UN Carolyn Rodrigues Birkett

Guyana, as Chair of the largest negotiating group of developing countries in the United Nations – the Group of 77 (G77) and China – has committed to strengthening multilateralism for the benefit of all developing countries, including by presiding over global sustainable development and climate change negotiations, and efforts to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Organisation.

The country was elected in November 2019 to the Chairmanship, demonstrating the group’s strong support and confidence in Guyana.

Former Minister of Foreign Affairs and current Permanent Representative to the UN, Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett said Guyana has taken up the Chairmanship of the G77 at a significant time.

“We assumed the Chairmanship in a very important year… it is the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations, it is also the year that begins the Decade of Delivery on Sustainable Development, but it is also the year where we have seen quite a bit of push back on multilateralism and then added to that we have the COVID-19 pandemic,” Rodrigues-Birkett said in an interview with the Department of Public Information.

On Thursday, Guyana will host its virtual flagship event on the occasion of its Chairmanship of this major Group, under the theme, “Maintaining a Low Carbon Development Path towards the 2030 Agenda in the Era of COVID-19.”

This event aims to bring together ministerial and expert level representatives from the membership of the Group of 77 and China to achieve several objectives.

These objectives are:

  1. To provide a space for awareness, partnership building, knowledge sharing and lesson learning among the G-77 and China membership on climate action amidst the COVID-19 crisis, while recovering towards the 2030 Agenda
  2. To reinforce the Group of 77’s position on key issues in the climate change discussion including climate finance and ecosystems-based approaches, while also contributing to maximising SDG co-benefits; and
  3. To produce a presidential communique that highlights the main concerns and actions of the Group.

Given the existential threats posed by climate change, there is no room for delayed actions or reneging on commitments in this regard. It is against this background that the event will be hosted.

The Government has noted the need for parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Paris Agreement to maintain the importance of the climate crisis, in all actions and at all levels. The pandemic, it had noted, has exposed the vulnerabilities of our health and social systems, the fragility of our economies, the unsustainability of our relationship with nature, and the gaping inequalities in our world. The poorest and most vulnerable have been the hardest hit, and face the most uncertain paths to recovery.

Decades of progress towards eradicating poverty and other deprivations stand to be reversed.

The virtual flagship event will also highlight the need for enhanced solidarity and greater systemic resilience, amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rodrigues-Birkett further explained the importance of the event in pushing this agenda.

“What this event is going to do or is going to focus on is on maintaining a low carbon development path in the context of COVID, keeping our eyes on achieving the sustainable development agenda and this event is being held by us in our capacity as Chair of the G77 and China…What we are trying to do here is remind the world that yes, we have the pandemic and yes we have to deal with the pandemic, but that should not put a low carbon development pathway to sustainable development on the back burner.”

The response to the pandemic, the Government posited, must now aim to build fairer and more inclusive, resilient and sustainable societies and economies. It should strive to realise the transformations necessary to address the challenges related to climate change and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Therefore, the Paris Agreement on climate change and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, together with the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, represent the global roadmap for the recovery from COVID-19 and for an equitable and sustainable future. They must be at the heart of COVID-19 recovery plans.

“We must not forego to what we have committed to in the Paris Agreement, in several other agreements, in the Sustainable Development Goals, just because we have COVID now. In fact, we have to accelerate it even more so in light of the pandemic,” Rodrigues-Birkett said.

Among several other outcomes, the sessions to be hosted at the flagship event seek to explore innovative ways in which the global financial architecture can improve access for developing countries, to maintain a climate-resilient development pathway in the context of the 2030 Agenda.