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The Caribbean is ‘ground zero’ for the global climate emergency: Guterres |


Reservedone UNESCO A World Heritage Site, a vast reserve covering about 11% of the country’s territory, recognized for its tabletop mountains and endless biodiversity – some thought to be unexplored – and remains largely inaccessible and unaffected by human activity.

From above, the rainforest canopy is painted in a multitude of shades of green, with some treetops covered in waves of orange or even purple flowers. Along the way, the mighty Coppename River, as well as the upper parts of the Lucie, Saramacca and Suriname rivers flow through trees like a landscape painting.


The Central Suriname Nature Reserve, pictured here, encompasses 1.6 million hectares of virgin rainforest of West-Central Suriname.

UN News / Laura Quiñones

The Central Suriname Nature Reserve, pictured here, encompasses 1.6 million hectares of virgin rainforest of West-Central Suriname.

However, before reaching the protected area, the head of the UN can see that Suriname’s forests are seriously threatened by the activities of the logging and timber industry, both driven by the driving forces behind economic activity. Striking against the deep green canopy, the brown patches of deforestation, evidence of destructive gold mining and flooding are hard to miss.


Suriname is the most forested country in the world, but its pristine rainforests are threatened, among others, by mining for gold, bauxite and kaolin.

UN News / Laura Quiñones

Suriname is the most forested country in the world, but its pristine rainforests are threatened, among others, by mining for gold, bauxite and kaolin.

A moment of ‘maximum danger’

Although Suriname is part of the South American continent, it is considered a Caribbean country due to its history, culture, and similar challenges it faces with the tiny island nations.

Late on Sunday, the head of the United Nations arrived at the Assuria Event Center in Paramaribo to attend the opening of the 43rd Conference of the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM).

Mr. Guterres’ appearance has featured four separate musical and cultural performances. The short walking tour introduces Suriname’s unique ethnic diversity, a product of the Netherlands’ long history and colonial process. Afro-Surinamese, East Indian, Indigenous Aborigines, Chinese descendants and Javanese performed their traditional dances and folk sounds

At the podium, the Secretary-General highlighted the region’s diversity and climate action leadership, and outlined a range of actions to take in the face of a looming planetary crisis. take place. COVID-19 pandemic and global financial challenges.

“Richly diverse, uniting land and sea, and protecting fragile coastal ecosystems, mangroves are a fitting symbol of the Caribbean nations – facing challenges, seizing opportunities, conservation of natural gifts”, the head of the United Nations to the Heads of State and Government of the region on Sunday, inspired by his involvement in these coastal carbon sink wonders in Paramaribo the day before.

Mr. Guterres recognizes that the small island nations on the Caribbean coast are particularly vulnerable to what he calls “The biggest challenge our world faces today” – climate crisis.

“The Caribbean is zero for a global climate emergency, emphasizing that unfortunately, that is not the only challenge facing the region,” he said.

“This year’s CARICOM Summit comes at a time of maximum danger – for people and the planet,” he added, referring to the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on The health system and tourism, as well as economic growth and foreign investment, are now exacerbated by the war in Ukraine.

A group of Sino-Surinamese people dance and sing while heads of state and government arrive for the 43rd CARICOM Conference in Paramaribo, Suriname.

UN News / Laura Quiñones

A group of Sino-Surinamese people dance and sing while heads of state and government arrive for the 43rd CARICOM Conference in Paramaribo, Suriname.

Bold solution

The Secretary-General told CARICOM leaders that bold solutions are needed to address these problems, highlighting three.

1. Match climate action to the scale and urgency of the crisis

Mr. Guterres called for urgent and transformative emissions reductions to halt global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius, support adaptation to climate impacts and financial support to ensure viability recovery capacity.

“I thank the Caribbean leaders for helping show the way. I am inspired by your many efforts to protect your incredible biodiversity and natural gifts, including the efforts of indigenous communities,” he said.

He added that more ambition and climate action is neededbut especially the G20, who account for 80% of global emissions.

“The war in Ukraine cannot lead to short-sighted decisions closing above 1.5C. With commitments now registered, emissions are still projected to increase by 14% through 2030. This is simply suicide – and it must be reversed.”

The head of the United Nations stressed that wealthier countries need to lead in a fair and equal way. renewable energy revolution ,” and they need to deliver on their promise of $100 billion in climate finance for adaptation starting this year.

“And it’s time to have a frank discussion and space for decision-making regarding the loss and damage your countries are going through,” he said.


United Nations Secretary-General António speaks at the opening of the 43rd regular session of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), taking place from 3 to 5 July in Paramaribo, Suriname.

UN News / Evan Schneider

United Nations Secretary-General António speaks at the opening of the 43rd regular session of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), taking place from 3 to 5 July in Paramaribo, Suriname.

2. Reform the ‘morally bankrupt’ global financial system and promote a sustainable recovery

The Secretary-General stressed that developing economies need access to free or low-cost financing, as well as debt forgiveness and restructuring.

“On the debt issue, we need immediate relief for developing countries whose debt is coming due,” he said.

The head of the United Nations added that he fully supports the establishment of the Caribbean Resilience Fund and reforming the international financial system to help the region respond better and prevent its vulnerability to external shocks.

“Obviously, our old metrics failed us. It’s time to change them,” said Mr Guterres, suggesting going beyond the financial system’s preoccupation with per capita income and establishing a ‘multidimensional vulnerability index’ to determine the likelihood of access financial assistance.

“For your countries, this means ensuring that the complex and interdependent factors of debt and the impact of climate change are captured in any analysis that qualifies for removal. debt and funding,” he told the Caribbean Head of State and Government.

3. Continue to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic

The Secretary-General has promoted governments, organizations and pharmaceutical companies better work together to produce tests, vaccines and treatments locally.

“We’re not out of the woods yet… And we need to continue to work closely together to stop the spread of the virus across the Caribbean through proven public health measures and prepare for future pandemics through bold investments in preparedness and training,” he declared, emphasizing that countries must never be so unprepared again.

Finally, Mr. Guterres reaffirmed the UN’s support for the Caribbean to work towards these solutions.



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