Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders have joined their global counterparts in adopting a declaration honoring the multilateral framework put in place by the United Nations founders in 1945.
The leaders also pledged to better live out the promise to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.
Titled “Declaration on the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the United Nations,” the text lays out 12 commitments to reanimate global resolve: leave no one behind, protect the planet, promote peace, abide by international law, place women and girls at the center, build trust, improve digital cooperation, upgrade the United Nations, ensure sustainable financing, boost partnerships, work with youth, and, finally, be prepared.
On Monday, the Caribbean leaders said in the declaration that the world is plagued by growing poverty, hunger, terrorism, climate change—and now, the epic onset of COVID-19.
They said people are forced to make dangerous journeys in search of safety and in the declaration that least developed countries, such as some in the Caribbean, are falling behind “and we still have not achieved complete decolonization.”
“Our challenges are interconnected and can only be addressed through reinvigorated multilateralism,” they emphasized.
In his maiden address to the UN General Assembly, Guyana’s President, Mohamed Dr. Irfaan Ali, speaking for the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, said the pandemic highlighted the bottlenecks faced by developing countries, ranging from insufficient financing and high debt to restricted access to medical supplies.
Barbados’ Prime Minister Mia Mottley said, as the international community meets in this “strange and impersonal virtual space,” there is a compelling need for nations to pause to reflect on what the United Nations needs to do as it reaches its important milestone.
While it is fitting that the organization’s accomplishments be reflected upon, Mottley said “there is no time for contented self-congratulations over what has been achieved as the world faces a new enemy, the pandemic, in addition to the deadly existential threat of the climate crisis.
Haiti’s President Jovenel Moïse said since the United Nations was founded and the charter drafted, the organization has played “a central role” in the world. Citing major achievements in maintaining peace and justice, he said more must be done to tackle new and emerging challenges, including terrorism and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and CARICOM chairman, Dr. Ralph E. Gonsalves, said “the exigencies of the 21st century demand a recommitment to the unity and solidary that were envisaged at the United Nations founding.
“A renewed and effective multilateralism is vital to confront climate change and address the health, socioeconomic and political aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Gonsalves said, adding “amid an unequal global political economy, the moment is right to refashion the global system, reform the Security Council and update the protocols that govern international trade and finance.”
Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne said the dismantling of colonial rule, “carried out under the law-making capabilities of the General Assembly, assisted many states,” including his own.
Belize Foreign Affairs Minister, Wilfred Elrington, speaking on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States, said the UN’s 75th anniversary occurs at “a moment of upheaval, with multilateralism seemingly in global retreat.
“The cataclysmic crises of the pandemic and climate change are layered upon a bedrock of inequality,” he said.
“However, the governments of today benefit from a framework in place to chart a course through the crises: The charter of the United Nations, offering a blueprint for a green and resilient recovery.”
Charles Hamilton, a young climate change advocate from the Bahamas, addressed the General Assembly calling for greater urgency, increased action and broader intergenerational governance structures to support young people in Small Island Developing States, the Caribbean, coastal and indigenous communities, and in the least developed countries.