"Are we going to be too late for the SDGs?" Mia Mottley asked world leaders at the UN General Assembly on Friday, challenging them to "summon the determination to make the fundamental governance changes" that will turn the vision of sustainable development for all into a 21st century reality.
Describing the Sustainable Development Goals as "the promise of development and the conferral of dignity on our people," the Prime Minister of Barbados questioned whether the world's actions since the adoption eight years ago of the 2030 Agenda will be sufficient to attain the 17 targets on poverty, gender equality, the environment, and more.
"Will we be too late to save as many as we can from the climate crisis; too late for us to save as many as we can from the ravages of war; too late to provide the food that so many need?", she asked.
The same facts
Acknowledging that world leaders have made progress, Ms. Mottley said much remained to be done on the road to 2030. Indeed, she pointed out that as of last year, 735 million suffered from chronic hunger, and that more people are likely to be hungry in 2030 than in 2015.
Moreover, the way forward must be based on commonly agreed objectives. "Our Democracy cannot survive if we do not have the same facts, but we live in a world where the generation of fake news is a near daily occurrence. And where people act on those premises without consideration as to whether the news is true or not," she stressed.
Calling for the creation of a regulatory framework in line with that outlines by the Secretary-General, she said the role artificial intelligence (AI) will play in our world "must be for good purposes but not evil.
High gas and oil prices
With aggressive oil supply cuts in Saudi Arabia and Russia and deadly flooding in Libya sending crude prices on a tear, oil prices are on pace to hit their largest quarterly increase since Russia invaded Ukraine in the beginning of 2022.
According to Ms. Mottley oil and gas prices have been driven higher in the Venezuela because of lack of transparency, and the people of the Caribbean are bearing the brunt of it.
"How is it possible for Chevron and the European Union to access the oil and gas of Venezuela but the people of the Carribean, cannot access it at the 35 per cent discount offered by the people of Venezuela?"Ms. Mottley asked.
"Impossible that we should always have to bear the cost of an additional 4 per cent in my country", she said, simply because the rules are allowed for one but not the other.
Touching on the issue of corporate tax, the Barbados Prime Minister noted that World leaders do not approach the issue with fairness.
"We know how to run fast in one set of circumstances when it suits one set of people but yet we run very slow when it matters to billions of people and their access to livelihood," she said.
"We cannot continue to put the interest of the few before the lives of many," the Carribean leader added.
Ms. Mottley said the fight against climate change is far from over, adding that the climate change is as much of a crisis as the war in Ukraine and the ongoing conflict in Africa.
"We are committed to resume the battle of saving people and the planet," she said. According to her reform is critical at this point, and what matters is what each country does to address the global issue.
Attributing a quote to Nelson Mandela, Ms. Mottley concluded: "Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision is merely passing time. But vision with action can change the world." The best leaders not only create their vision, but also inspire others toward action."