-at 48th Meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the OIC
Ministry of Finance, March 22, 2022: Speaking at the 48 th Meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Senior Minister in the Office of the President with Responsibility for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh earlier today while commending the Government and People of Pakistan on behalf of President Irfaan Ali and the Government of Guyana on the occasion of Pakistan’s 75th Independence Anniversary, reiterated to officials in attendance that concerted global action is now even more urgent to tackle the global problems being faced.
“First is the question of full and lasting recovery from COVID-19. All our countries felt the pandemic’s impact, both humanitarian and economic. Effective responses necessitated international collaboration. Likewise, sustainable recovery needs joint action. Resurgence in any country anywhere, threatens the recovery in all countries everywhere. As OIC Member States, we need to stay focused on addressing the issues that are critical for safeguarding and sustaining the recovery. These include further strengthening our healthcare systems, and improving access to vaccines and other medical supplies, even as our economies reopen,” Dr. Singh strongly urged.
The Senior Finance Minister went on to explain that climate change is another issue which must be confronted more urgently on a global scale, adding that as a low-lying coastal state, Guyana is amongst the most vulnerable, and the climate crisis threatens not only its development prospects but Guyana’s very existence.
“Guyana has outlined a Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) which places our economy on a path to accelerated sustainable development. Shared commitment and joint action are critical for limiting global warming and we urge adherence to the global agenda for combating this crisis,” Dr. Singh explained.
He also noted that as a heavily forested country, there is need for more meaningful global recognition of the contribution being made by standing forests in the fight against climate change.
Minister Singh reminded that more than 800 million people worldwide still go hungry daily and almost 700 million persons worldwide are malnourished opining that food security is therefore a global imperative.
“Within the Caribbean, Guyana is leading efforts to scale up food production and productivity rapidly, and to strengthen food systems with the aim of improving food security in our region as part of the global effort to tackle this problem,” he told officials, adding that ‘additional investment in agriculture by both the public and private sectors, and dismantling of the barriers to trade in agricultural produce, are urgently needed globally’.
Dr. Singh reminded that one specific concern of the Government of Guyana and that of all OIC Member States is any form of discrimination against individuals on the basis of their religion which is a violation of their human rights and contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter as well as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
“Guyana was therefore pleased to support the OIC initiative to pursue the designation of 15 March as the International Day to Combat Islamophobia which the United Nations General Assembly agreed to do by consensus. The designation of this day is an important step towards addressing this scourge. It also presents the opportunity to raise awareness on religious intolerance more broadly with a view to promoting understanding and advancing a culture of peace,” he posited.
Meanwhile, the Finance Minister alluded to Guyana’s culture of peace, pointing out that Guyana’s final observation is a reflection on the importance of working to promote peace and stability in the regions to which OIC Member States belong as well as the rest of the world.
“On this latter note, the Government of Guyana deplores the threat or use of force in international relations and the violation of territorial integrity and sovereignty of states, wherever it may occur. We therefore remain gravely concerned over recent military intervention in violation of territorial integrity and sovereignty and we reiterate our call for an immediate cessation of hostilities and a return to diplomacy. Aggression by any one state against another is a threat to the surrounding region and to countries everywhere,” Dr. Singh said.
He concluded that while examining the various resolutions at the forum, Guyana’s delegation took note of the number of conflicts that are still ongoing, and how these conflicts are impeding the advancement of human rights and hindering development. As such, he expressed Guyana’s stance on the need for political will and concrete actions to resolve these issues.
“Guyana expresses its continued unwavering solidarity with the Palestinian people in their just struggle to live in peace and dignity,” the Finance Minister indicated further at the forum relating that in Guyana, led by His Excellency Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, the country has embraced a philosophy of oneness in the concept of ‘One Guyana’ aimed at reinforcing the strength Guyanese derive from diversity and promoting the unity and prosperity of all of its people. He then reaffirmed Guyana’s steadfast commitment to the values of the OIC and to contributing to the furtherance of the Organization’s objectives.
Also in attendance at the forum as part of Guyana’s delegation was Guyana’s Ambassador to Qatar Safraaz Shadood.