United Nations – World leaders must stand up and do the right thing if their citizens are going to enjoy a better way of life.
Prime Minister Mia Mottley pleaded with developed countries on Thusday to follow through on their promises and commitments to small island developing states (SIDS) when she delivered Barbados’ national statement to the general debate of the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 77).
Mottley said it was important for developed countries to help SIDS to fight a number of global challenges from climate change to food security to debt restructuring to broadband access to correspondent banking.
“Many of the things that are put before us don’t require money, but they require commitment and political will and with the power of the pen we can impose natural disaster and pandemic clauses in our debt,” she said.
“With the power of the pen, we can change the capital that is available to multilateral development banks that will remove the barriers that currently exist that will allow us to fight poverty.”
The prime minister said world leaders must have mature conversations with their people, instead of relying on headlines and soundbites to avoid a disconnect between the government and the governed.
“With those commitments we can make a difference in today’s world, and let us do so recognising that a world that reflects an imperialistic order, hypocrisy, and a lack of transparency will not achieve that mission, but one that gives us freedom transparency, and levelled playing field will allow for a difference,” she said.
Mottley praised Denmark for becoming the first developed country on Tuesday to put forward a fund of U.S. $13 million that will help developing countries cope with loss and damage related to climate-change impacts.
The prime minister asked other countries to step up and do likewise, or else the world is not going to see any change, and the trust between nations needed to fight greater causes will be eroded.
“Any attempt to deny that the climate crisis has man-made origins is an attempt to delude ourselves and to admit that we want to be accomplices in the continuing death and loss of damage that ensues to the people who are the victims of it,” she said.
“The commitments of loss and damage are absolutely critical if we are to make serious progress in saving our world… Let us remember that the trust needed to propel us to fight the great causes of our time will not be won by us breaching promises.”
Mottley also said she supported an appeal from United States president Joe Biden to reform the UN Security Council.
“We call an echo for that, but we go further,” she said. “We believe that a Security Council that retains the power of veto in the hands of a few will still lead us to war as we have seen this year, and therefore the reform cannot simply be in its composition, but also [must include] the removal of that veto.”
The prime minister also said reform of the G20 and G7 countries was needed, arguing that Barbados “cannot accept” these “informal committees of governance” when they have no African-descent representation and exclude 1.5 billion people in the world.