“Our thoughts go out to the many families, the mothers, the children, the elderly and the sick who are living the worst possible nightmares,” said Suriname’s Foreign Affairs Minister Yldiz Pollack-Beighle in addressing the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly Debate on Saturday.
“We are convinced that those affected will be comforted with the hope that all is not lost, since the world community stands with them and pray for the betterment and speedy recovery of our region,” she added.
Pollack-Beighle also acknowledged the suffering in Mexico, as a result of the recent heavy earthquakes, and express our deep-felt sympathy for those victimized.
She said the destruction of the means of production and physical infrastructure has created “a social disruption that goes far beyond the immediate needs of the victimized societies.
“We also observe that the world at large, demonstrates a strong sense of solidarity when calamity strikes and humanitarian assistance is urgently needed. However, to alleviate the desperate condition of the peoples, we must, in our international efforts, address the calamities in a further and wider perspective,” she said.
“We must assist the respective Governments in restructuring the socio-economic and physical infrastructure, in a way that these states can become more resilient and reduce their vulnerability in the future,” she added.
Pollack-Beighle said this will require the development of innovative concepts and an intensive sharing of global experience.
Furthermore, she said it will imply aggressive mobilization of adequate resources.
But she said such, necessary resource mobilization, will face obstacles, but added: “We will have to face the fact that a number of the more affluent nations entertain inward looking policies that do not augur well with the pressing need to join hands in solving these truly global problems.”
“The past weeks made it very clear to all of us that the forces of nature do not discriminate,” the Foreign Affairs Minister said. “No, they don’t, and Suriname strongly supports the view that nations should proportionately contribute at a global scale if we want to survive as humanity.”
“When scientists indicate precise and foreseeable natural disasters, it is obvious that we should take precautionary measures, mitigate possible dangers and adapt existing structures to minimize the effect,” she added. “Becoming more resilient remains the only way forward.”
Pollack-Beighle said it is in this regard that it is “unacceptable” that Caribbean countries, including Suriname, are being graduated into Middle Income Countries, with a zero option to obtain concessional loans.
“I add my voice to the lamentation regarding the fact that the vulnerability of these countries should be taken into account when classifications are applied,” she said. “Thus, it is ironic that Suriname is facing such threats of climate change, while at the same time our country is making a tremendous contribution in mitigating climate change.”
As a high-forested, low-deforestation country with 93 percent forest cover – which is the highest of the world, Pollack-Beighle said Suriname provides regulation services to the global climate, including as a carbon sink.
In addition to providing livelihoods to indigenous and tribal communities, she said forests are biodiversity hotspots, with an impressive number of endemic and international significant species.
The minister said Suriname’s forests also support fresh water regulation as part of the unique Amazon ecosystem, and provide employment and income generation through an active forest industry.
Above all, she said Suriname has set aside for conservation purposes 1.6 million hectares of pristine rainforest, referred to as the Central Suriname Nature Reserve, “as a gift to humanity.”
While Suriname’s greenhouse gas emissions have been historically negative, Pollack-Beighle said it is a challenge to enhance the country’s economic development while maintaining this unique position in the world.
To achieve this goal, she said Suriname is ready to partner with governments, the global community and other stakeholders to transform its economy, in which environmental protection, including through REDD+, social advancement and economic prosperity, take central stage.
“Our Multi Annual Development Plan, recently adopted by Parliament, is testimony to this vision for our nation’s sustainable development,” she said.
- Countries: Suriname