President of Dominica, His Excellency Charles Angelo Savarin has challenged the international community to come through on  promises that it has made to small island developing states in terms of helping them achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.                            

President Savarin, who was speaking at the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, September 21 2022, said this session is timely as the world battles numerous challenges which have current and long term consequences. 

“This 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly is being convened at a time when we are faced with enumerable challenges which have both current and long term implications. These include climate change, degradation of our eco system and loss of bio-diversity, poverty, inequality, and a growing challenge of chronic non-communicable diseases.  All of these have occupied the attention of this august body over the years with only marginal progress in finding solutions for resolving these major challenges,” President Savarin stated.

His Excellency Savarin says the theme of this UN session falls in line with the approach outlined by the United Nations towards achieving the SDGs.

“This year’s theme ‘A Watershed Moment: Transformative Solutions to Interlocking Challenges” is analogous to the approach and trajectory outlined by the United Nations towards the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals. Member states have individually embraced the SDGs as the ideal to be universally pursued and achieved by 2030. Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are more challenged than most to achieve these goals,” he noted.

President Savarin challenged the international community to fulfill its promises and pledges with effective implementation.

“The international community has pledged its support; however the question is to what extent has tangible support been forthcoming? The challenge is to go beyond promises, commitments and pledges to effective delivery and implementation. The various global crises do not respect national borders. Our inter-connected world means no one is insulated or immune from developments that take place anywhere on this planet,” President Savarin went on to state.

He encouraged the larger countries to take the action needed to assist the small developing states in attaining these goals.

“We need to talk less and start taking those concrete and sustainable actions needed in order to reduce carbon emissions into the atmosphere. In addition to tropical storms and hurricanes, we are facing the prospect of droughts, warming seas and rising sea levels, all of which will affect lives and livelihoods. For this very reason we continue to champion the call for collective global action to build the resilience of our small island states to natural disasters which were triggered and exacerbated by our changing climate. We must lay a path for development that is sustainable and people focused,” His Excellency further noted.

President Savarin says the international community must take responsibility in terms of providing funding which is required to build resiliency.

“What we need from our developed partners in this United Nations family is the recognition and acceptance of responsibility that translates to a commitment to provide the funding that is required to enable our small states to become resilient. This must be readily accessible and available to all of us on grants and concessional terms with the only criteria for access being our vulnerability to extreme weather events,” President Savarin added.