Saturday, 02 March 2024 11:31

Guterres urges support for Haiti in remarks to regional leaders

UN Photo/Lucanus Ollivierre
Secretary-General António Guterres (left) delivers remarks at the Eighth Summit for the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres appealed on Friday for greater support for an international mission to help Haiti combat rampant gang violence in remarks to regional leaders meeting in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

The island nation is hosting the latest summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), which comprises more than 30 countries.

With the bloc meeting “to help foster solutions for the region and for the world”, Mr. Guterres highlighted the need for solidarity in the areas of peace and security, sustainable development, social cohesion and climate action.

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‘Peace is possible’

“Latin America and the Caribbean have shown how uniting for peace is possible and makes a difference,” he said.

He pointed to the “significant strides” made in the peace process in Colombia and the joint declaration signed recently by Guyana and Venezuela aimed at reducing border tensions.

However, he noted that organized crime continues to plague many countries.

“Arms trafficking has become the most important security threat to the region,” the UN chief said. “It will not be possible to fight it effectively without much stronger international cooperation, from the source to the streets.”

In this regard, he welcomed the security partnership launched recently by Andean countries to assist Ecuador, while the new Government in Guatemala “offers a chance to advance democratic development, the rule of law and other key aspects of the peace agenda.”

Help for Haiti

He warned that the already dire situation in Haiti is getting worse by the day, as gangs hold the country hostage and use sexual violence as a weapon.

Last October, the UN Security Council authorized a multinational security support mission to back-up the national police, which Kenya has offered to lead. Several countries, including CELAC members, made additional pledges of support during an event on the sidelines of the G20 meeting in Brazil last week.

“I welcome these efforts, but much more must be done to secure the deployment of this mission without further delay and a political solution that could resolve the country’s fundamental problems,” he said.

According to news reports, Kenya and Haiti signed a formal security agreement on Friday which will allow the deployment of 1,000 Kenyan police officers which will form the core of the new UN-backed multinational mission.

Kenyan President William Ruto reportedly said that thanks to the breakthrough deal, the mission can now be fast-tracked. The bilateral agreement is a key pre-condition laid down by Kenya’s High Court for allowing the police deployment.

Sustainable development stimulus

Addressing sustainable development, the Secretary-General reported that efforts to achieve a more just and equitable global future are in danger.

This is occurring at a time when millions in the region are facing hunger and poverty, and as many countries are drowning in debt.

Last September, world leaders endorsed his proposal for $500 billion in annual financing to boost sustainable development but “unfortunately, the resistance has been severe”.

He expressed hope that the Summit of the Future at UN Headquarters this September will make progress towards reforming “a global financial architecture that is unfair, outdated and ineffective”.

Climate justice and finance

The Secretary-General arrived in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines on Thursday. At a press conference that afternoon in the capital, Kingstown, he expressed solidarity with small island developing States who are on the frontlines of the fight against climate change.

He appealed for greater action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which he said “is essentially a responsibility of the G20 countries” as these richer nations are the main polluters.

“But, we need much more climate justice, which means much more finance available at reasonable cost for adaptation and mitigation for developing countries and in particular for small island developing States,” he said.