The world is at a “decisive crossroads,” Ralph Gonsalves, prime minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, told leaders gathered for the United Nations General Assembly’s annual debate on Thursday.
“We have retreated from the ethos of integration, cooperation, and consensus building…which is absolutely necessary to solve the global problems that confront us,” he explained.
As a small island developing State, St. Vincent and the Grenadines faces challenges to sustainable development, a small but growing population, limited resources, and susceptibility to natural disasters and climate change.
“Small size is no impediment to impactful contributions on the world stage,” Gonsalves told the Assembly.
Gonsalves encouraged solidarity and equality from the member states present for the general debate to deal with these challenges by invoking a “recommitment to the bedrock foundations of our [UN] Charter.”
Citing Goal 17 (on global partnerships)of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), he told the gathered leaders that “We have mainstreamed and prioritized goals related to clean energy, economic growth, sustainability, climate action and biodiversity. We have chalked up home-grown progress in tandem with selfless solidarity from some of our regional and global friends and allies, but much more is required to be done.”
He went on to say that St. Vincent and the Grenadines “stands firmly against the continued interventionist assaults on the sovereignty of our neighbours in the Republic of Cuba and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela,” calling for “constructive dialogue between and among the contradictory parties.”
“Ours is a flame of respect,” Gonsalves said, concluding: “For sovereignty, for diversity of views, for dialogue, for peace and for development.”