Antigua PM wants greater South-South cooperation

Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister, Gaston Browne.
Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister, Gaston Browne.
Gov’t of Antigua and Barbuda

Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne has called on African leaders and heads of international corporations attending the MEDays Forum in Morocco to foster greater South-South cooperation in order to restore justice and equity.
An Antigua and Barbuda government statement said on Sunday that the MEDays Forum is the only non-governmental event organized in Morocco and one of very few in Africa to open to foreign heads of state and government.
With an average of nearly 30 percent of government representatives among the nearly 200 speakers, the statement said that “MEDays confirms its continued attractiveness to political decision-makers.”
In delivering the closing remarks at the MEDays Forum on Saturday, Prime Minister Browne called on delegates to continue heightening their collaboration and further integrate, as they pursue the path of global peace and international cooperation.
“Today, we live in a world characterized by crises, which incidentally are virtually all man made. They include but are not limited to global injustices and inequity, political instability, terrorism, financial crimes, the refugee crisis, climate change and the pandemics of wars and disease,” he said. “The resolution of these crises requires a global commitment; an all of society approach to resolve them.
“Resolving these crises requires a form of creative destruction to replace these perennial crises, (the old order), with new innovative approaches, (the new order) that will result in a more just, equitable, peaceful and sustainable global human civilization,” the prime minister added.
“A new world order would require greater global collaboration and cooperation among all states, with the institutionalization of socio-economic policies that are fair and equitable providing for a more equitable distribution of wealth and to significantly reduce or eliminate injustices to include poverty,” he added.
The Antiguan leader said while there are sufficient resources on the planet to support the achievement of global sustainable development, “those resources are unevenly distributed to support profligacy and to fund senseless wars and conflicts.
“My articulations so far may sound utopic, perhaps misplaced, or even unimaginable. I can assure you though, that I do not have my feet firmly planted in the clouds,” he said. “However, I do not believe that we should limit our human ambition and endeavors for a better world.
“Our world is fast becoming a hell for many; why can’t we work collectively to make it a heaven for all?” he asked. “This type of egalitarian approach is the only sustainable way of creating a new world order, thereby replacing the rat race, which we have created, of which the citizenry of the global south have been its greatest victims.
“Unfortunately, our global civilization has become uncivilized requiring urgent realignment,” added Browne, stating that” the quest for a fairer, more equitable and just world will have to be driven by a more unified global south, whose peoples have had to endure these inequities and injustices.”
He said this unification should be led by “a more integrated Africa to include its Caribbean Diaspora.”
Browne said the global south is endowed with all of the required mineral and people resources “to make the necessary paradigm shift, to bring about a new equitable and just world order.
“But we clearly lack the focus, cooperation and bold leadership required to effect this change,” he lamented. “A more integrated global south, with increased trade and investments, could exert greater global influence and would be in a stronger position to effect the global changes necessary to sustain human civilization and a good quality of life for all.
“I trust that the inspiring discussions emanating for this forum would result in a renewed focus and commitment for greater South-South partnerships in resolving these global challenges.”
Additionally, the prime minister said the most significant existential threats facing world at this time are climate change, the war on Ukraine and the lingering socio-economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“If we could resolve these latter crises, the world would not become a utopia, but, certainly, a significantly better place for all to live,” he said, adding that climate change is “the most significant existential threat facing all of humanity.”
Browne said while some progress has been made in addressing climate change, “insufficient advances have been made.”
He noted that the United Nations’ Conference of the Parties (COP) Diplomacy has “tinkered at the edges of the problem for several decades, agreeing that there is an enormous problem but failing to grab the beast by the horns and wrestle it to submission.
“Governments have been prepared to agree on rules, but, in the absence of legally binding deadlines and penalties, they have been unwilling to implement them,” the Antiguan leader said.
He also said that governments have also agreed on the measurement that “will tip the world over the precipice to disaster.”
Browne said 1.5 degrees Celsius is “the limit that all have agreed will signal the end of much of human existence and the land masses that we know today.
“Yet, climate diplomacy has failed to halt the unrelenting march to that terrifying disaster,” he said. “It is only a question of time, unless every effort is made to stop climate change by the world’s polluters, whose own scientists are warning them continuously of the consequences of their persistent destruction.
“Evidently, the reality that climate diplomacy has failed is inescapable and compelling,” he added. “This requires the global south, especially small island states that have been hapless victims of climate change, to up the ante in fighting for the protection of our planet and human civilization.”
To this end, collectively, as the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), at COP 27; Browne said Small Island Developing States (SIDS) will be “strongly advocating for compensation for loss and damage.”
In addition, he said several SIDS, including Antigua and Barbuda, plan to hold the world’s major greenhouse gas emitters to account for their “polluting torts by taking our cause to the international courts and tribunals to seek justice.”
“These SIDS initiatives require the collaboration and support of all countries of the global south to effectively fight this deadly climate war that has been launched against us,” Browne said.

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