Statement by Honourable Prime Minister Brigadier (Ret’d), Mark Phillips at Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Group of 77 and China on ‘Current Development Challenges: the Role of Science, Technology and Innovation’

His Excellency Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, President of the Republic of Cuba and Chair of the Group of 77 and China

His Excellency Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations

Excellencies, Heads of State and Government and officials Heads of Delegation

Ladies and gentlemen

I take this opportunity to express my country’s solidarity with the peoples of the Kingdom of Morocco and the Republic of Libya at this difficult time of loss of life from natural diseases in both countries.

Permit me to also express Guyana’s sincere appreciation to the Government and people of Cuba for the generous hospitality which they have afforded our delegation since our arrival in this historic and beautiful capital of Havana.

I bring fraternal greetings from the President, and the Government and the people of of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, to the government and people of the sister Republic of Cuba with whom Guyana has maintained over many years strong ties of friendship and cooperation. Guyana stands in solidarity with Cuba in calling for the end of unjust embargo and the removal of Cuba from the list of State sponsors of terrorism.

Guyana welcomes the convening of the Havana Summit of the G77 and China under the theme ‘Current Development Challenges: the Role of Science, Technology and Innovation.’ The relevance of this theme cannot be overstated, harbouring as it does the potential for synergistic and transformative impacts across the full range of sustainable development goals.

I take this opportunity to commend the Republic of Cuba for its effective stewardship of the Group of 77 and China, a role befitting of a country that has given exemplary demonstration of its commitment to the principles of solidarity, cooperation and multilateralism, which have long guided the workings of this Group.

Guyana reaffirms its commitment to the United Nations Charter and International Law which remain the pillars and guideposts of multilateralism and of the relations between States.

Mr. President,

We remain acutely conscious of the fact that in the current global environment, both people and planet face a myriad of challenges which must be overcome in order to assure peace, development, the fullest enjoyment of human rights, including the right to development, and indeed the very future of the world’s peoples.

Having endured the ravages of COVID-19, we are confronted with an ecological crisis, an inequitable global economic and financial system and increasing geo-political tensions. Indeed, at the midpoint of the 2030 Agenda, we are seeing disquieting indicators. More than 50% of our targets are off track, a portion of which are in reverse and worse there is a US$4 trillion financing gap for SDG implementation, double what it was in 2015.

Excellencies, despite these challenges, the nations of the South have demonstrated resilience, ingenuity, and solidarity. We must continue to advocate for the fulfilment of all outstanding international commitments, for a reformed global financial architecture, a fair and just energy transition, a climate-resilient future and a truly democratic, just and inclusive international order.  

Science, technology and innovation are crucial in addressing development challenges; from food security, poverty alleviation, enabling energy security, resolving health-related issues, accelerating economic transformation, to effectively responding to the existential climate crisis. We must continue to press for meaningful technology transfer even as we work to strengthen indigenous STI platforms and programmes. Efforts to close the digital divide and offset development challenges for countries of the South must continue to be urgently pursued.

Mr President,

The exploration of scientific and technological production and innovation could drive sustainable development if employed strategically. There is a need for greater international cooperation and support for local legislative frameworks to mitigate the ethical, legal, and political considerations associated with artificial intelligence and cybersecurity concerns.

As such, Guyana welcomes the initiatives to resume and revitalise the work of the Consortium on Science, Technology and Innovation for the South (COSTIS). Guyana also notes with appreciation the United Nations Secretary-General’s initiative, announced in August of this year, to establish the new Scientific Advisory Board to inform member states of breakthroughs in science and technology as well as steps to harness the benefits of these advances and mitigate potential risks.

For its part, Guyana is working to create the required enabling legislative and regulatory environment, as well as the infrastructure, to manage digitisation, incorporating STEM and coding at the elemental levels of the school system, and especially among girls, and laying the foundation for its first ‘smart’ city.

Excellencies, the outcome document of this esteemed summit rightly acknowledges that the strategic deployment of technology and innovation has the potential to resolve and minimize trade-offs among the Goals, critical to scale up and accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. This is the time for us to leverage south-south, north-south and triangular cooperation for continuity, connectivity and digital inclusion among and within countries, reducing inequalities for a renewed impetus in the pursuit of resilient and sustainable development. In this context, the role of multi-stakeholder partnerships to foster strategic long-term investment in support of STI initiatives in developing countries, including through innovative and blended finance, should not be underestimated.

Mr. President,

I conclude by reaffirming Guyana’s commitment to the Group of 77 and China, and to the unity and solidarity of the Group, which form the basis upon which the realisation of our goals will be achieved.

I thank you.

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