Statement of His Excellency Brigadier David Granger, President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana at the Seventh Summit of Heads of State/ and of Government of the Association of Caribbean States, Havana, Cuba June 4, 2016.
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT, CLIMATE CHANGE AND PEACE IN THE CARIBBEAN BASIN
The delegation of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana expresses its appreciation to the Government and people of the Republic of Cuba for the gracious welcome and hospitality extended at this the Seventh Summit of the Association of Caribbean States.
Guyana thanks His Excellency Alfonso Munera for his stewardship over the Association of Caribbean States over the past four years. We welcome the election of Dr June Soomer as the incoming Secretary General. We wish her success and we pledge our support in her tenure.
We meet here in the Havana, the capital of a country which has been undaunted in defending the rights of all countries to pursue their own course of development, free from threats and intimidation.
SECURITY, PEACE AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
Guyana affirms its belief that the challenges of sustainable development, climate change and peace in the Caribbean Basin cannot be met without also addressing security challenges within the Caribbean Basin.
Security is essential to peace. Peace is essential to sustainable development. Development cannot be sustained in situations of threats to a country’s territory, sovereignty and independence.
The Association of Caribbean States considers the Caribbean Sea as part of the patrimony of the Region. The resources of the Caribbean Sea,if they are to contribute to the development of the Region,must be preserved and protected against environmental damage and must be sustainably developed for the benefit our peoples.
The Caribbean Sea, however, can only be sustainably developed and protected from contamination if the entire Region is preserved as a "zone of peace".
Rising sea levels,floods and droughtsare associated with climate change. The warming of our oceans increases the intensity and frequency of tropical storms, cyclones andhurricanes. The destruction, devastation, loss of lives and livelihoods resulting from natural disasters can create security crises.
Environmental hazards can lead to the:
• desertification of wetlands,
• destruction of valuable eco-systems and
• depletion of natural assets.
Food shortages can result from these disasters. They can trigger conflict and mass migration. They can occasion unmanageable security crises.
Security cannot be dispensed with easily or ignored. It is essential to any strategy to promote sustainable development and to arrest the adverse effects of climate change.
Sustainable development through the prudent management of resources, the promotion of conservation, and the preservation of the Region’s rich biodiversity contribute to the fight against climate change.
Guyana has set aside 371,000 hectares of pristine rain forests to the Commonwealth to promote the sustainable management of our forests. Guyana is part of the"lungs of the earth". Guyana provides ecological services to all humanity. Every country of our region must contribute to sustainable development and to reducing greenhouse gas emissions
Guyana´s contributions, however, cannot be divorced from action to address the security concerns that threaten sustainable development and those that result from climate change.
Security remains a primary consideration in the pursuit of sustainable development and in the fight against climate change.
Guyana reiterates its desire to ensure, that in addressing the challenges that confront our region, the important security concerns, so essential to most issues, will not be ignored or bypassed.
I thank you.