CELAC can play ‘pivotal’ role in ensuring prosperity of the region – Pres. Ali tells summit  


By Fareeza Haniff in St Vincent and the Grenadines


President Dr Irfaan Ai on Friday identified democracy, peace, stability, international law, the rule of law and collective work on climate, food and energy security as foundational blocks for the prosperity of the people of the region.

In his address to leaders at the VIII Summit of Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) being hosted in St Vincent and the Grenadines, President Ali highlighted that CELAC can play a “pivotal role” in seeking to address issues that impact the sustainable development of the region.

He reminded that climate change and extreme weather conditions have begun to put the world’s food production and global food security at risk and it has been made worse by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is in this regard that Guyana continues to advocate for food and nutrition security in the region.

“My government welcomes collaborative efforts and partnerships in the retooling effort to build the necessary capacity to meet the rising need for expertise in the advancement of this sector.

“Guyana like many other countries represented here today is cognizant of the disproportionate exposure to the harmful effects of climate change on many of our local industries. Our low-lying coastal plain is subject to flooding from both the rising sea and the increased intensity of rainfall,” the Head of State said.

President Dr Irfaan Ali speaking at the VIII Summit of CELAC (Photo: Office of the President/March 1, 2024)

He referenced Guyana’s implementation of the Low Carbon Development Strategy which focuses on forest climate and other ecosystem services; stimulation of future growth through clean energy and sustainable economic activities; protection against climate change and alignment of the country’s economic and social policies with global climate goals.

“Guyana reiterates its call for the fulfilment of the financial commitments needed to address and support climate mitigation, adaptation and loss and damage, especially in vulnerable countries,” the President said.

In this vein, he urged CELAC to galvanise its advocacy for the sustainable management of forests, and the conservation and enhancement of forest carbon stocks (REDD+) processes, and other policy approaches as decided by the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Meanwhile, reiterating Guyana’s drive to diversify its economic and investor portfolio, President Ali encouraged more companies to explore investment opportunities in areas such as agri-tech, eco and destination tourism, the construction industry, pharmaceuticals and renewable energy.

“We are creating an enabling environment conducive to the generation of trade and investment opportunities.

“The framework for advancing cooperation within this grouping is highly valued by Guyana as it provides avenues for enhanced development and convergence on issues in areas of our collective interest.”

CELAC is a regional bloc of 33 sovereign countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. It was created on February 23, 2010, in Mexico to deepen political dialogue for Latin American integration.

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