Abinader insta a combatir el problema del sargazo durante su discurso en la ONU

SANTO DOMINGO. The president of the Republic, Luis Abinader, has asked the United Nations to join the fight against sargassum, an environmental problem that affects countries dependent on tourism, such as the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and the United States. In his speech at the 78th United Nations Assembly in 2023, the Dominican president stated that the Dominican Republic has created a multisectoral committee to address the issue. “Another harmful effect of climate change particularly affects our Caribbean region: I am referring to the massive proliferation of sargassum. This seaweed, which devours Caribbean coasts, including those of the United States and Mexico, has serious economic, social, and environmental impacts, especially for tourism, which represents up to 75% of the economy of some Caribbean countries,” the speech excerpt from Abinader at the United Nations in New York states. The institutional committee referred to by Abinader is the Sargassum Fight Cabinet, acting as an advisory council, which will be responsible for proposing and coordinating the implementation of public policies aimed at reversing the effects generated by that floating macroalgae on the beaches and coasts of the Dominican Republic. Sargassum affects the tourism of the Dominican Republic, its main economic activity.

Climate change, another topic by Abinader at the UN 2023

Abinader also mentioned the crises generated by climate change such as droughts, rising sea levels, loss of biodiversity, and extreme weather events, among others. “These impacts have generated an environmental liability that strongly threatens all the progress we have made in recent decades,” laments Abinader. Every year, the Dominican Republic faces the hurricane season. This threat affects the tourist areas of the country, mainly those on the east coast, such as Punta Cana.

Abinader’s speech at the 2023 UN Assembly

Distinguished Mr. Dennis Francis, President of the Seventy-Eighth Regular Session of the General Assembly,
Distinguished Mr. Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations,
Ladies and gentlemen,
In the advanced second decade of the 21st century, humanity faces inherited challenges and new obstacles that require action. We must see these calamities as opportunities that compel us to work together to overcome them. The Dominican Republic is firmly committed to building a model of human, inclusive, fair, and sustainable development. However, it is legitimate to ask ourselves, are we really on track to achieve this?

The various crises generated by climate change have had devastating impacts on our planet and our societies, such as droughts, rising sea levels, loss of biodiversity, extreme weather events, among others. These impacts have created an environmental liability that strongly threatens all the progress we have made in recent decades.

As a developing economy, and with a negative carbon footprint, we are making our contribution to the mitigation of climate change by encouraging the use of renewable energy. But we know that this is only one step on the long road to sustainability because we still have a great dependence on fossil fuels. Oil remains important to us. I take this opportunity to draw attention to the practice of controlling the supply by exporting countries to keep oil prices high, to the detriment of importing countries. In this Assembly, representative of both sides, we should discuss and approve a financial mechanism that guarantees price stability for oil-importing middle- and low-income countries like ours.

Significant steps have been taken to address the climate emergency, such as the recent adoption of the Convention on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine Biodiversity in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ), a convention that I will sign later today.

But there are many more decisive steps to be taken, including the adoption of the Multidimensional Vulnerability Index (MVI) for all developing countries, or the implementation of the Loss and Damage Fund to provide financial assistance to the most vulnerable nations to the effects of climate change. I also want to highlight the International Summit to be held in Antigua and Barbuda in May 2024 on Small Island Developing States (SIDS), in which our country will be present as a member of the preparatory committee.

Likewise, there is an urgent need to create a financing mechanism on favorable terms for middle-income countries to tackle the challenges posed by the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs 2015-2030). Lack of access to adequate resources was precisely one of the reasons why most countries failed to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs 2000-2015).

As the Secretary-General has stated, the international financial system is “broken.” The Dominican Republic firmly believes in a profound reform of the international financial architecture that benefits all countries equitably.

Another harmful effect of climate change particularly affects our Caribbean region: I am referring to the massive proliferation of sargassum. This seaweed, which devours Caribbean coasts, including those of the United States and Mexico, has serious economic, social, and environmental impacts, especially for tourism, which represents up to 75% of the economy of some Caribbean countries. The Dominican Republic has created a Multisectoral Committee to deal with this problem, and we hope that developed countries will contribute to the solution.

Mr. President,

One of the pillars of our commitment to achieve a fairer social contract and a more effective State has been, and will always be, the fight against corruption. The Dominican citizens have embraced it as a response to one of their main demands. Various international indicators on corruption perception confirm the progress that my government has achieved in this regard.

In another matter, I would like to reiterate to this Assembly the candidacy of the Dominican Republic for the UN Human Rights Council for the 2024-2026 term in the upcoming elections next month. This candidacy represents our firm commitment to the defense of human rights.

Distinguished colleagues,

When observing the island of Hispaniola from space – do it from your cell phone through Google Earth! – a palpable and heartbreaking difference can be perceived: one green and flourishing half corresponds to the Dominican Republic, which has prioritized the conservation and sustainable management of its natural resources. The other half, devoid of that rich forest cover, reflects the dramatic deforested landscape of Haiti. This natural border is not only a geographical lesson but a powerful reminder of what awaits the world if we continue to ignore the alarms of nature.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Today Haiti not only suffers an environmental tragedy but also a political and social instability that can become a threat to the entire region. I am not pleased to recall the call I made two years ago to this General Assembly when I said, “Since this government took power, we have been announcing the possibility that the Haitian situation may spill over the borders of that country, becoming a factor of insecurity in the region. Hence the need for this community of nations to once and for all take on the Haitian issue as one of the highest priority and permanent monitoring.” Today, the harsh reality of that warning is evident. A small group of Haitian individuals has resumed the construction of an illegal transfer channel in Haitian territory to extract water from the Dajabón River in violation of the Dominico-Haitian border treaties. The international community must know that the Dajabón River originates in Loma de Cabrera, and most of its 55 km runs through our territory until it flows into Manzanillo Bay in Montecristi. Only 2 km enter Haitian territory. It is in that small stretch on the Haitian side where they are building the canal. The information we have indicates that it is a water control maneuver by a small economic-political elite to profit from its sale to small producers in the area. This project idea was never officially communicated to the Dominican government, nor was documentation provided regarding its magnitude, environmental impact, and the identity of its ultimate beneficiaries. Despite the scant available information, the analyses we have carried out show that the project puts at risk…

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