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Mottley chides international community for failing to act


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Mottley chides international community for failing to act
Prime Minister Mia Mottley speaks at the UN General Assembly 76th session General Debate in UN General Assembly Hall at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City on Friday - Reuters

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UNITED NATIONS – Barbados sought answers for several questions from the international community on Friday, ranging from climate change to a new world order that would allow for the global community to shape its own future destiny.

Prime Minister Mia Mottley addressing the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) said three years ago when she delivered her maiden speech to the international community, she warned then that the world appeared perilously similar to how it was 100 years ago and “we have not moved the needle”.

“I am not here to say I told you so, but I will say that we must move the needle,” she said. “We must lead, and we must act.

“How many variants of COVID-19 must arrive before a worldwide vaccination plan is implemented? How many deaths must it take before 1.7 billion excess vaccines are shared?”

Mottley questioned the unwillingness of states to deal effectively with fake news even as they continue to defend the public digital spaces.

“We have come together with alacrity to defend the right of states to tax across the digital space, but we are not prepared to come together quickly to defend the right of our citizens not to be duped by fake news in that same space,” she said.

Mottley said the global community is awaiting “global moral strategic leadership” to these issues, including climate change.

“How much must global temperatures rise before we end the burning of fossil fuels?” she asked. “How much must sea levels climb before those who profitted from stockpiling greenhouse gases contribute to the loss and damage they caused?

“And yes, how much must hurricanes destroy, locusts devour, and islands submerge before we recognise that U.S. $100 billion is not enough? The answer, Mr President, is that we are waiting for urgent leadership.”

Mottley asked the international community to indicate how many crises and natural disasters need to hit before there is a change of the old conventions of aid to reach those most vulnerable.

She also questioned how wealthier must technology firms become before “we worry about how so few have access to data and knowledge”.

“The answer, Mr President, is that we have the means to give every child a tablet, every adult a vaccine, and invest in protecting those most vulnerable from a changing climate, but we chose not to,” she said.

“We do not fear the consequences enough. How many times must leaders come to talk and not be heard before they stop coming? How many times must we talk about making the decision-making institutions more representative of the world before international institutions become derelict just as we need them most?”

Mottley said equally is the question as to how many more times must people of colour as well as women attacked disproportionately as they seek to lead international organisations and then only be met by goodwill and nice words only before nationalism and militarism return.

She said that this age dangerously resembles that similarly unequal world on the eve of the Great Depression and the World Wars, and that the world continues to gamble with its future.

(CMC)