The President of the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly, H.E. Mr. Volkan Bozkir, concluded his tour of the Eastern Caribbean with an official visit to Barbados from 27 to 28 July 2021.
Upon arrival on 27th July, the President was welcomed by H.E. Ms. Sandra Husbands, Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade as well as H.E. Mr. François Jackman, Permanent Representative of Barbados to the United Nations.
On Wednesday 28th July, President Bozkir was received by H.E. Ms. Mia Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados. They were joined by H.E. Dr. Jerome Xavier Walcott, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade and H.E. Ms. Santia Bradshaw, Minister of Education, Technological and Vocational Training, as well as H.E. Mr. François Jackman, Permanent Representative of Barbados to the United Nations. Their discussions focused on the multiple vulnerabilities affecting the people of Barbados and Small Island Developing States such as climate action, international financial architecture, foreign debt, the health and socio-economic impact of COVID-19 – including on tourism- as well as the need for equitable, fair access to vaccines for all.
Following this meeting, the President of the General Assembly travelled to UN House in Barbados where Mr. Didier Trebucq, Resident Coordinator for Barbados and Eastern Caribbean hosted a briefing on the work of the UN Sub-Regional Team. A total of sixteen representatives joined the meeting, both in-person and virtually from other duty stations in the region, to share their work with President Bozkir. The President applauded their efforts and affirmed their critical role as the face of the United Nations engaging with the people we serve.
The final engagement in this tour was a working lunch hosted by H.E. Dr. Jerome Xavier Walcott, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Barbados; H.E. Ms. Lisa Cummins, Minister of Tourism and International Transport also joined. They discussed the important role of Barbados in the multilateral system and the need to work collectively to advance recovery efforts in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and multiple extreme weather events that have affected the region.
This visit to Barbados was the first of any sitting President of the General Assembly. Reflecting upon the tour, President Bozkir stated:
“At the outset of the 75th session of the General Assembly I committed to prioritising the needs of countries in special situations, and thus I established a Board of Advisors on Least Developed States, Landlocked Developing States and Small Island Developing States. However, it was not until I visited the Caribbean that I fully understood the impact of climate change on Small Island Developing States; and indeed, the socio-economic fall-out of the COVID-19 pandemic. I will continue to be a voice for SIDS for the remainder of my term in the General Assembly.”
On 28th July, the President returned to New York.