Antigua and Barbuda will be playing a pivotal role in a number of crucial meetings next week that form part of the 76th United Nations General Assembly, which opened in New York on Tuesday 14th September.
Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister the Hon. Gaston Browne will not be in New York for this year’s UNGA and has determined that it will be best for reasons related to the pandemic to join the meeting virtually.
“This year’s UNGA comes at a most critical juncture of our history as countries around the globe remained locked in the throes of fighting a pandemic,” stated Antigua and Barbuda’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations H.E. Dr. Walton Webson.
Leaders will seek to escalate the global response to the crisis, which has had a particularly debilitating impact on small and developing states like Antigua and Barbuda.
UN Secretary General H.E. António Guterres has convened a Sustainable Development Goals Moment, an assembly of world leaders on Monday to reflect on the progress of the ambitious 17 point plan geared at addressing some of the most critical needs facing countries around the world. Prime Minister Browne will be in attendance at this important gathering and will be making a special presentation on the progress the twin island nation has made on its SDG goals during the pandemic.
A packed agenda is in place for the entire week, including a meeting on Wednesday at which the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), currently chaired by Antigua and Barbuda, will figure prominently. The AOSIS Leaders Declaration will be presented to the body of nations for
adoption and Prime Minister Browne will chair this meeting, the first in seven years that the leadership of the alliance has been convened.
“This will prove an opportune time for Antigua and Barbuda to bring attention to the significant and existential threat of climate change and how the pandemic has only further exposed and increased our vulnerability as a small state,” Ambassador Webson pointed out.
Prime Minister Browne, in the meantime, is also down to represent Antigua and Barbuda at a Food Systems Summit on Thursday and a high-level dialogue on Energy on Friday.
The country’s prime minister will deliver Antigua and Barbuda’s national statement on Saturday 25th September at around 3:30pm during the UNGA’S General Debate. He will be joined by Ambassador Webson, who will attend in person.
This year’s UN General Assembly is being held under the theme ‘Building Resilience through Hope’ and is being chaired by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Maldives, His Excellency Abdullah Shahid.