Sir, life is about perspective. 20 years ago, the nations of the world gathered in this city and took a serious look at the state of the world and made a declaration. Leaders from rich and poor countries all looked at the state of technology, poverty, health and environment and realized that there were real problems facing this world. But the leaders did not stop there; they also declared that there was no problem facing the global community that could not be solved. All it would require was commitment and action from all of us, developed and developing countries; government, civil society and the private sector.
Today, 20 years later, we have returned to this great city of Rio de Janiero to take a new perspective on the future we want. Some of us are looking with fresh eyes, some have been working toward achieving these commitments for the last 20 years but what will prove true from this process is that the perspective we will gather will be more than a mere snapshot.
It will be a holistic analysis of what we have done, how we have grown, where we have succeeded and where we have come up short. The 1992 Rio Declaration was but a nascent being, but now after 20 years of planning, cultivation and implementation we should have a clearer vision, a better understanding and better defined goals.
Antigua and Barbuda aligns itself with the statements made by Algeria on behalf of G77 and China and Nauri on behalf of SIDS.
It is certain that there has been some progress in our quest for sustainable development. However, when we look at the reality from the perspective of the three pillars of sustainable development, it thus becomes evident that the road to sustainable development, which one would have hoped, after 20 years, would more resemble a multi-lane highway, has deteriorated into a narrow, winding and treacherous path up an almost sheer slope.
The challenges for present and future generations continue to grow. The facts are clearer than ever, the inequality among nations is increasing at an alarming rate; development challenges faced by developing countries such as Antigua and Barbuda are creating levels of uncertainty that were both unseen and unimagined.
The threats to the world economic environment have become larger with each passing year and the impacts felt in Small Island Developing States, similar to Antigua and Barbuda, are immensely disproportionate to the negligible acts of the destruction by our own people.
Mr. Chairman, Climate change, financial crisis, over fishing are problems not caused by us yet we are called here to carry that burden.
Over these 20 years we have negotiated, debated, strong-armed, compromised, capitulated, collapsed and agreed. Through processes of surveys, studies, round tables, working groups and conventions we have produced a plethora of declarations, plans, development goals, accords and reports. I think it is fair to say we have shown we can work together, but have we shown that we can work?.
After 20 years, we know the problems intimately. We know there is climate change. We know there is over fishing. We know there is runaway species loss. We know sea level rise and we know global warming. And we know these existed in 1992 and today in 2012, twenty years later they are still here now. My country is here to renew our commitment to work together and to find solutions but Mr. Chairman, a fundamental system of access to reliable and low cost financing is a must. This time around countries will need to know what is it going to cost to get us there!We know that there are women in this world still being subjugated. We know there are needless epidemics and starvation. We know. And so today, with all this knowledge, all these leaders here, all this global goodwill, we need to take what we know and change it into what we can do. And what we can do is ensure the adoption of the 10-Year Framework of Programmes (10YFP) on sustainable consumption and production (SCP) and the establishment and rapid mobilization of a trust fund intended to support developing countries in promoting sustainable
consumption and production.
In 2008, Antigua and Barbuda, like many developing countries suffered a massive destabilization of consumption and production patterns,our economy. This was not because we had mismanaged our resources nor was there a failure in our local or regional governance structures. We are all well aware, is that the global financial systems systems are structured to favour the largest, biggest and most powerful of us all. Developing countries are expected to do their part yet they have very limited access to financial capital.
Ladies and gentlemen:
When I look at what is the bottle necks, the limiting factors we have here, is the access of developing countries to the financial capital they need to captain their our reforms in a fair and equitable way.
Citizens and the private sector of developed countries have access to capital so they can meet most agreements that their Governments have entered into on their behalf. Our citizens and private sector have limited access to finance and when they do access is at a much higher interest rates than their counterpart in developed countries.
Mr. Chairman I am calling for all of us to agree that as long as this condition exists it would be difficult for us to meet any sustainable development goals.
Sir, I am further calling for us to develop a plan, and a process, with the objective to level this playing field.
Sir, All citizens of the world should have the same access to finance at the same rates. This may sound far-fetched but I believe this is possible and it is in fact necessary.
The development of Green economies start with all of our private sector and citizens having the same access finance at the same cost.
had become so intertwined and interdependent that the collapse of one bubble in one part of the world can set of a chain reaction that can be felt the world over. It is for this reason that we need to ensure that consumption and production patterns are not only sustainable but that we build in the resilience to allow nations and peoples to continue to survive regardless of the type or severity of a shock.
To this end, the Government of Antigua and Barbuda will support a process to review of international financial systems and the impacts it has on developing countries to meet their sustainable development goals.
My country calls on development partners to collaborate with us on the issue of debt of developing countries and the forgiveness of this debt in order for countries like mine can focus on our new and existing mandates to reform our economies and protect our environment.
Many SIDS through no fault of our own are saddled with choking debt burden, lack or reliable low cost capital but we are still expected to meet the challenges of economic shocks, natural disasters caused by climate change and sea level rise.
Mr. Chairman we would love to announce here that Antigua and Barbuda will be protecting 10%, 20%, maybe even 50% of our natural assets but how can we when we do not have access to the funds to do so.
Antigua and Barbuda remains concerned over the state of implementation of the BPOA and the MSI. While SIDS themselves have made some progress at the national and regional levels in building the institutional capacity for sustainable development, in formulating strategies and action plans, and in carrying out policy reforms, we continue to encounter serious problems and constraints which have slowed down or impeded the process of implementation of said plans and strategies. The lack of financial, technical and human resources, relative to the enormity of the tasks to be accomplished, represents a common challenge faced by SIDS across all regions. Many critically needed infrastructural projects that require large investments such as air and maritime transport, and the related landside infrastructure adaptation to climate change and sea level rise, waste management, energy, tourism infrastructure, road and telecommunication infrastructure lie well beyond the financiiial capabilities of most Small Island Developing States.
Antigua and Barbuda, like many other Small Island Developing states, has stated its desire and commitment to realizing a green economy, but if we reflect on the record, our achievements in this regard have yet to reach the desired levels. It is for this reason that we remind our development partners of their stated commitments to assist developing countries in achieving real milestones in sustainable development. To this extent we call on the development and mobilization of appropriate mechanisms for international financial reforms.
Sir, with respect to technology transfer Antigua and Barbuda calls for a plan for us to set milestones as there are many areas where we can transfer technologies to SIDs and other developing countries. For Antigua and Barbuda we are calling for assistance in the distribution of renewable energy to developing countries at a cost less than that of conventional energy.
WE need energy now, we need affordable energy now. It is our belief that countries should be in a position to have the choice of renewables. We need a mechanism to transfer this and other technologies at a competitive or even lower price than conventional energy.
Sir, we all can play our part in the Future we want.
I am calling for a plan to enable us to truly do so!!!!
Antigua and Barbuda also recognizes that although there has been considerable research and development in various sustainable development fields, the specific situation of SIDS, due to their openness, size and lack of economies of scale has failed to be adequately documented and addressed. We therefore call on our development partners to afford some consideration to addressing all aspects of sustainable development in SIDS, which are recognized as being some of the most vulnerable states to many of the problems facing this world. In particular we place some priority on the impacts of climate change on health and agriculture; capacity building for tourism; renewable energy; the sustainable management of oceanic resources; development of indicators for sustainable development and the formalization of vulnerability assessment methodologies.
Building on the BPOA and the MSI, we call for the convening of the Third International Conference on SIDS in 2014, recognizing the importance of coordinated, balanced and integrated actions to address the sustainable development challenges facing SIDS and we invite the General Assembly at its 67th Session to determine the modalities of the Conference.
Ladies and gentlemen.
Antigua and Barbuda is in full support of the statements made by Algeria on behalf of the Group of 77 and China and Nauri on behalf of SIDs.
We would like to express our profound gratitude to the president and people of Brazil for their support of this international process and of course their warm hospitality to my delegation. This is an historic moment for all of us and it is my intention that Antigua and Barbuda will continue to work with all of our partners, developed and developing to make the vision of the Future we want a reality.
Thank you Mr. Chairman