In his novel “A Tale of Two Cities” Charles Dickens wrote: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.” Those words written over a century ago seem prophetic as we stand today apart yet united in a cascade of crises of global proportion.
The unrelenting threat of climate change is now compounded by the Novel Coronavirus sweeping through the world causing death, destruction of livelihoods, whole economies in some cases, while we stand by helpless and witness our development gains begin to crumble. The Managing Director of the IMF stated a few days ago that “We are now in recession. It is way worse than the global financial crisis.” The Paris Agreement, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and other global aspirations hang in the balance. This is indeed a season of darkness challenging a technologically advanced world.
The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a global toll and the most vulnerable countries, particularly Small Island Developing States (SIDS), which stand to suffer the most. This is an additional battle we must now fight even while we are situated on the frontlines of climate change, leading the charge to reverse its negative impact. Multilateralism and securing the support of the international community are more critical now than ever lest the most vulnerable are swept into oblivion.