Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister, Gaston Browne, had a busy day of bilateral meetings with top officials in the government on the first day of the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly held in New York.
During his meetings, he discussed a broad range of matters with senior officials from around the world.
One of the significant meetings on his schedule was with the Deputy Prime Minister of Ireland, Micheál Martin, who expressed a keen interest in the issues affecting small island developing states like Antigua and Barbuda.
Prime Minister Browne has been a key figure on the international stage advocating on behalf of SIDS on a variety of issues such as debt relief and the reconfiguration of the global financial structure to increase access to finance needed to build resilience against the dreaded impacts of climate change.
During his dialogue with Deputy Prime Minister Martin, Prime Minister Browne pointed out that the unique vulnerabilities of Antigua and Barbuda and other island nations have only strengthened their resolve to pursue solutions like the Multidimensional Vulnerability Index (MVI) since the one-size-fits-all all construct no longer works.
Deputy Prime Minister Martin was particularly interested in hearing Prime Minister Browne’s thoughts on the future of island nations, and in this context, he inquired about his expectations for a positive outcome at the next climate conference, COP28, which will be held in the UAE towards the end of this year.
Prime Minister Browne stressed that the industrialized world needs to redouble their efforts to reduce carbon emissions, and the Loss and Damage Fund, which Antigua and Barbuda, as Chair of AOSIS, was instrumental in establishing, needs to be capitalized and operationalized.
In the meantime, Deputy Prime Minister Martin pledged financial support for the hosting of the SIDS4 Conference, which will be held in Antigua and Barbuda from May 27 to 30.
The groundbreaking conference will represent a major turning point in the future of island nations, as it will produce and establish a ten-year framework from which SIDS will work to achieve their Sustainable Development Goals.