United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres announced his visit to the hurricane hit Islands
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres announced today (04 Oct) that he will be visiting hurricane hit islands of Antigua, Barbuda and Dominica this Saturday to survey the damage caused by multiple storms and what more the UN can do help people recover.
Speaking to journalists at a press stakeout at UN Headquarters, in New York, Guterres recognized that some of the most important speeches during the general debate of the General Assembly came from the leaders of Caribbean nations reeling from back-to-back hurricanes. He recalled the how Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda reported that the entire population of Barbuda had been left homeless and the Prime Minister of Dominica declared that he had come to the United Nations “straight from the front line of the war on climate change”.
Mr. Guterres said he was struck by a prevailing message from all the Caribbean leaders – including from the hardest hit countries, who said "we urgently need support today" but even in the wake of utter devastation, urged the world to act for tomorrow.
The Secretary-General highlighted the growing impact of climate change and said that over the past 30 years, the number of annual weather-related disasters nearly tripled, causing great economic losses.
The Secretary-General said “we should not link any single weather event with climate change. But scientists are clear that such extreme weather is precisely what their models predict, and they predict it will be the new normal of a warming world.”
Scientists, he said “are learning more and more about the links between climate change and extreme weather” and are concluding that “a warmer climate turbocharges the intensity of hurricanes. Instead of dissipating, they pick up fuel as they move across the ocean.”
Guterres said “we know that the world has the tools, the technologies and the wealth to address climate change, but we must show more determination in moving towards a green, clean, and sustainable energy future” and urged countries “to implement the Paris Agreement, and with greater ambition.”
The Secretary-General said it was “very important to allow Dominica to have access to innovative forms of finance in concessional conditions,” as “it's very difficult for these countries to rebuild just by having access to normal capital markets.”
He also called for donor support that is “linked both to the humanitarian response and to the plans that, that based on the assessment will be made by the Government, in order to make Dominica an even more resilient country in relation to future storms of this nature.”
Quoting his Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change, Michael Bloomberg, Guterres said he believes “the US commitments to Paris will be met independently of the government decisions by the efforts that he is witnessing in the US economy, in the US society.”