Remarks by Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield at the 2nd Session of the UN Permanent Forum on People of African Descent

Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield
U.S. Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
May 30, 2023


Thank you, Madam Chairperson.

On behalf of the United States, as Permanent Representative to the United Nations, as a descendant of slaves, as an African American, and a proud member of the African diaspora, I am honored to express our strong support for the Permanent Forum on People of African Descent. We championed this Forum’s creation to amplify the voices of all people of African descent, especially civil society wherever they are. This forum is necessary to address the persistent racial and ethnic inequities inflicted on people of African descent all over the world.

This year, as reflected by Administrator Regan’s statement, I want to emphasize the connection between racial justice and environmental justice. Everyone deserves a breath of clean air, drink clean water, and enjoy our beautiful and bountiful environment. And yet, too often, people of African descent are put on the front lines of the climate crisis. We are the ones who live next to the chemical plants or rely on portable toilets, or overburdened by pollution and water contamination. And as someone who grew up in Louisiana, near so called “cancer alley,” I know this all too well.

These inequities are not only local or community problems. They are national problems. They are international problems. And we must address them together. This is the moment to work together to take on longstanding climate concerns, including environmental justice, that must be part and parcel of our work here at the UN. And so we are looking forward to a robust second session to further establish and nurture this necessary forum. Together, let us dismantle structural racism, brick by brick. And together, let’s leave our children a cleaner, fairer, more just world. Thank you.