Foreign Minister, Maxine McClean, delivering her address to the 64th United Nations General Assembly.??

Foreign Minister Maxine McClean wraps up her first visit to the United Nations with an address to the General Assembly this afternoon.

Minister McClean, who heads the Barbados Delegation to the Assembly’s 64th Session, has been in New York over the past week to participate in a series of high-level meetings with her counterparts. These included the 12th Informal Consultations of CARICOM’s Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR), the Annual Commonwealth Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, a session of the Commonwealth Committee on Belize, which Barbados chairs, a meeting between CARICOM Heads of Delegation and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, and a meeting between Caribbean Foreign Ministers and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The issue of Climate Change has dominated the agenda of this year’s proceedings, as preparations for the Copenhagen Conference reach their final stage and countries seek to agree on comprehensive targets to reduce green house gas emissions. Barbados, within the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), has played a prominent role in the negotiations thus far, and has lost no opportunity to highlight the catastrophic consequences to this group of highly vulnerable countries if urgent action is not taken by the world’s major polluters to address the phenomenon.

This was the message conveyed directly to the international community by Prime Minister Thompson, as he participated in an AOSIS Summit on Climate Change held in New York on September 22nd, and in a High-Level Session on Climate Change convened by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon the following day. Minister McClean was also among a small group of some 30 Ministers invited by the Foreign Minister of Denmark to a special retreat on Climate Change to brainstorm on strategies to facilitate a successful outcome at Copenhagen.

During the Minister’s visit, the opportunity was taken to hold bilateral discussions with a number of countries, including Chile, the Dominican Republic and Germany. Prime Minister Thompson also met with his Australian counterpart to discuss ways to enhance Australia’s cooperation with the region.

Barbados was elected as one of the Vice-Presidents of the 64th Session, and Minister McClean was accorded the honour of chairing a session of the General Assembly on the afternoon of September 23rd.

She also attended receptions held in her honour by Consul General Lennox Price and Permanent Representative, Christopher Hackett, where she was formally introduced to the Barbadian community living in New York, and to Caribbean diplomats and professionals working at the United Nations.??

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