The Secretary-General is in Suriname on a two day visit with a focus on the impacts by climate change on the environment and biodiversity. On Saturday morning, the Secretary-General visited the indigenous village of Pierre Kondre, located some 67 kilometres south of the capital Paramaribo and surrounded by 9,000 hectares of forest.
The Secretary-General was received by the Captain Lloyd Read of the Kaliña peoples, along with women and men members of the 100 inhabitant community. In the village, the Secretary-General was able to see the work of two cooperatives that are supported by the UN and its agencies, including the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), as well as the European Union.
The Secretary-General said that this was a visit of solidarity with the indigenous communities in Suriname and around the world. He stressed that when we witness that we are still losing the battle of climate change, when you see biodiversity more and more threatened everywhere, when you see pollution around the world, it is very important to recognize that indigenous communities are showing the wisdom, the resilience and the will to be at peace with nature.
From the village, the Secretary-General head to Weg Naar Zee mangrove rehabilitation site, where he saw the devastating impacts of climate change fueled coastal erosion, flooding and sea-level rise. In the area, he learned about a project supported by the UN and led by Anton de Kom University of Suriname, which installs sediment trapping structures along the coast and plants to revert the damage. With Suriname’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Albert Ramchand Ramdin, the Secretary-General planted a young mangrove tree.
Also on Saturday, the Secretary-General held a meeting with with Chandrikapersad Santokhi, President of the Republic of Suriname, which was followed by a press conference. The Secretary-General warned that with every passing hour of climate dithering, the pulse of the 1.5-degree goal gets weaker and weaker. He stressed that our world needs the political will and solidarity to make the difference that is needed.
The Secretary-General noted that Suriname and the Caribbean region are leading the path forward, and that we must follow that lead – for people, for posterity and for the planet.