In a compelling address at the 78th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, President Irfaan Ali voiced his concerns about the challenges the world is currently facing in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The President emphasized the critical issues impacting the global community while highlighting Guyana’s own efforts towards the SDGs.

Speaking at the Leaders’ Dialogue on “Scaling up Actions on Key Transitions to Accelerate SDG Progress,” President Ali acknowledged the grim reality that the world finds itself in the midst of a crisis. He stressed that crises spanning food security, energy, climate change, and the disruptive COVID-19 pandemic have significantly hindered progress towards the SDGs.

President Ali also drew attention to the stark financial disparities, citing a report by the Inter-American Development Bank, which indicated a staggering $2.2 trillion funding gap for crucial SDGs in Latin America and the Caribbean. He also pointed to the concerning debt-to-GDP ratio and inflation rate in the LAC region.

He commended his country’s commitment to the SDGs, noting impressive increases in investment per capita in health, education, and security over a three-year period. However, he cautioned that national efforts alone cannot suffice, especially for the most vulnerable. He underscored the importance of Goal 17 on global partnerships and called out the international community’s failure to meet its commitments.

Further, he urged action on international financial commitments, such as the long-standing 0.7% of Gross National Product for Official Development Assistance (ODA) and the annual $100 billion under the Paris Agreement. He emphasized the urgent need for reform in international financial structures, noting the disparities in food inflation and interest rates on external borrowing between developing and developed countries.

Ali emphasized the fundamental importance of the right to development and its impact on achieving global human rights, peace, security, and poverty eradication. He called for comprehensive action on initiatives like the Bridgetown Initiative, liquidity support, debt sustainability, development funding, and governance reforms within international financial institutions.

In this pivotal moment of global challenges, President Ali noted that he hopes his message resonates as a call to action for the international community to come together and fulfill their commitments to sustainable development.


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