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SVG must face up to international responsibilities

SVG must face up to international responsibilities


The 74th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations begins today, Tuesday September 17, 2019, in New York. It comes at a time of heightened international tension, a factor which will surely be reflected when the high-level General Debate commences on September 30, in which governments will speak on issues both of general concern as well as of particular interests to their respective countries and regions.

This session of the General Assembly appears to be quite a challenging one, where global affairs are concerned. Of particular interest will be the concerns of developing and underdeveloped countries about their future, given the formidable obstacles not just to their development, but to their very existence posed by the impact of climate change.

Just last week, the fourteenth meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP) to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) concluded in New Delhi, India. Our own Prime Minister, Hon. Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, had the honour to be invited to participate and to chair one of the sessions of this gathering. Some of the grave concerns of that meeting and the recommendations of that meeting are sure to give flavour to the deliberations of the General Assembly.

These would be given further impetus by recent violent storms in both the Atlantic/ Caribbean region and the Pacific which have not only wreaked havoc on the residents of those countries affected but have served grim warnings to neighbours of possible impending gloom. The refusal of some very powerful countries to neither accept this threat nor to support urgent actions to combat it, will of course, colour the UN debate.

Our country will be not just another participant, albeit an active one as we have proven to be. This year we participate in the General Assembly with particular attention being paid to this tiny nation which next year will join the ranks of those august nations to occupy a seat as a non-permanent member of the Security Council of the UN.

Who knows what will be the state of affairs in the world by the time that our country occupies that seat? This very week, as the delegates begin to prepare for their debates, the dark clouds of war present a gloomy background to their deliberations. Already saddled with the challenges of the impact of climate change, looming threats of global economic recession, rising ultra-nationalism and racism, there is this very week, the very real threat of war, perhaps on a global scale, emanating from conflicts in the volatile Middle East region.

In all this, given our small size and limited resources, St Vincent and the Grenadines must yet shoulder its responsibility of leadership entrusted to members of the Security Council. It must distinguish itself by sticking to the fundamental principles of the UN and playing its role in the search for peace, to avoid war which has proven so detrimental to all the peoples of the world and in insisting on peaceful resolutions to international conflicts.

It is not an easy task but the eyes of the world and in particular those of the people of the Caribbean will be upon us. We must face up to our responsibilities with courage and fortitude.