UNSG António Guterres recent visit to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines draws attention on climate issues

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António Guterres

The United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres paid tribute to the resilience shown by the people of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines a few years ago in the aftermath of the devastating eruption of the La Soufrière volcano during his recent visit to the country.

While speaking at the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) summit he said,”We need that spirit more than ever.” The Secretary-General outlined four areas in which solidarity is needed which include: solidarity for peace and security, sustainable development, social cohesion and in addressing climate crisis.

“The people of the small island developing States are on the front lines of climate change,” he told reporters who accompanied him on the visit. “They did not contribute to global warming, but they are paying the price.” he said further.

Secretary-General António Guterres had reached Saint Vincent and the Grenadines on February 29.

The Secretary-General held a bilateral meeting with Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of Saint-Vincent and the Grenadines at the airport lounge, which was followed by a joint press encounter when the Secretary-General praised Latin America and the Caribbean as a continent of peace and commended its commitment to find solutions to the conflicts that arise, including the one in Haiti.

Also Read:- UN Secretary-General António Guterres calls for equal opportunities for women in decision-making

He visited several sites in Saint Vincent that were impacted by the eruption of La Soufrière volcano in 2021, as well as areas that have suffered from climate change. The Secretary-General was able to see recovery efforts, including new housing in the Orange Hill resettlement area, and the collection of volcanic ashes and sediment that the Government now collects and reuses for infrastructure purposes. The Secretary-General also visited the Georgetown Sea Defence in the Sandy Bay community, which is a sea defence wall that is helping the country combat the effects of coastal erosion and rising seas.

During his visit he also held talks with with Javier González Olaechea, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Peru, and the second one with Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, President of Brazil on the sidelines of CELAC.

He also held talks with Keisal Melissa Peters, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade; and Rhonda King, Permanent Representative to the United Nations.

He had a virtual meeting with the UN country team in the Caribbean before heading back to New York. The Secretary-General arrived in New York late at night on Monday, 4 March.

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