NEW YORK, NY – USA – 30th May, 2023…. Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister the Hon. Gaston Browne held meetings with major diplomatic partners and top officials in the United Nations during his recent trip to New York on a wide range of important matters to include Antigua and Barbuda hosting of a major international gathering of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) next year.
Prime Minister Browne travelled to the United States last week where he joined the former Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg to co-chair the High-Level Panel on the Multidimensional Vulnerability Index (MVI).
During the busy two days of meetings, he met with the Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres and the Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States, Ms Rabab Fatima.
The UN Secretary General renewed the United Nations support for the conference and confirmed that he will be in Antigua and Barbuda for the Fourth SIDS Conference, likely to take place mid-2024.
Prime Minister Browne also used the opportunity to impress on Secretary-General Guterres the need for United Nations support in building the required consensus and agreement for the MVI to be an effective tool that vulnerable island nations can use in building sustainable economies.
In his meeting with Ms Fatima, the UN official praised the Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister and the team of experts for their diligent work in creating an MVI for small island states, which is a major area of her concentration at the level of the United Nations.
Prime Minister Browne acknowledged to both the Secretary General and the USG the second visit by the United Nations team to Antigua Barbuda, in preparation for the fourth SIDS conference scheduled for 2024. The visit will occur during the week of June 5th and will be headed by the Under Secretary General of the UN’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs and Secretary-General of the Conference Mr. Li Junhua.
Prime Minister Browne also held a bilateral meeting with the United Kingdom’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Dame Barbara Woodward.
During their meeting, he expressed his gratitude to the UK for their support on the work of the MVI and its strong and devoted interest in bringing it to reality. Ambassador Woodward indicated to Prime Minister Browne that the UK Government is also taking a keen interest in the Fourth SIDS Conference and will be providing technical and financial support to Antigua and Barbuda in the lead up to the Conference.
Prime Minister Browne also held a bilateral meeting with the Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations H.E Gilad Erdan, during which they discussed Visa free arrangements between the two countries. The Prime Minister also sought to tap into the possibilities for cooperation in addressing Antigua and Barbuda’s water issues, as well as agriculture technology and health.
In this connection, Prime Minister Browne accepted the invitation from the Israeli government for Minister for Foreign Affairs the Hon. EP Chet Greene to visit Israel within the next two months to sign off on areas of cooperation.