Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield
U.S. Representative to the United Nations
Los Angeles, California
June 10, 2022
QUESTION: Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, as a follow-up more broadly, how can public-private partnerships help the U.S. address the changing – excuse me – the U.S. address the challenges facing its allies in the hemisphere?
AMBASSADOR LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD: Well, if we consider just the migration issue that we just discussed, we can look at how we might partner with the private sector to create jobs, to create opportunities for people. We know that many people migrate looking for opportunity. They are looking for jobs. And if those jobs are in their own countries, in their own communities, most of them would make the decision to remain at home with their families and to build on their lives there. So that’s the first way that we can partner with the private sector.
Second, if we look at the response to COVID, it is clear that we cannot address the challenges of the pandemic alone. We have to partner with the private sector, we have to partner with governments in the region, we have to partner with civil society to address the issues of the pandemic. It is not something that a government can carry out alone; it is not something that can be handed to a government to deal with. You have to develop relationships and partnerships to address the challenges that the pandemic presented us.
And then finally on climate change, it is absolutely imperative that we partner with the private sector so that we can start to address the dramatic impact that climate change is having across the region, whether it is dealing with building up infrastructure that responds to the impact of climate change or it is helping countries to develop the policies that they need to address climate change and the impact on communities. We can’t do it alone, and I think this summit over the course of the past four days I think addressed those issues very, very, very well.
QUESTION: Yeah, thank you very much, Ambassador. So the next question is for you as well. Climate change is accelerating the frequency and intensity of natural disasters. Latin America and the Caribbean are disproportionately affected. They’re the second-most disaster-prone region in the world. How can the United States work with its partners in the Americas to build on agreements announced here in the L.A. – here in L.A. and further address the causes of climate change, but also prepare for the next disaster?
AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD: Well, as you know, Vice President Harris announced this new initiative, and we really do think it will be a game-changer in how we start to address the issues of climate change, which we’ve heard from our partners in the Caribbean and Latin America is one of their biggest challenges and highest priorities. We heard the Prime Minister of Jamaica raise concerns about the impact of climate change. I have been hosting what I call listening sessions in New York with our partners from the region, and not just this region but across the globe. Climate change is one of the highest priorities. It’s one of the biggest concerns that countries have raised. And they talk about their lack of capacity to address the issues that are being presented to them, and climate change can impact not just issues of poverty but climate also impacts and presents security challenges to countries.
So this initiative I think will start the process of addressing the root causes and it’s a beginning to help countries respond to the impact of climate change on their populations.
QUESTION: Yes, thank you for that.
QUESTION: Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield, one way to capitalize on the momentum of the summit is to strengthen the region’s human capital, which is also a powerful tool to make migration an option rather than a necessity. Access to digital tools, finance, and strong education structures were cited as examples to improve human capital development when the Atlantic Council convened national summit coordinators this year. What do you see as the role of the U.S. Government, its private sector, and universities to advance the Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity in a collective way such that the benefits of the new partnerships are directly felt most tangibly by the citizens?
AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD: Well, let me just say that in our view, this is going to be a game-changer in the region because it will start to address, again, root causes for migration. People will stay at home if they have opportunities at home. And this will be one way that we will work with our partners to build opportunities for populations.
We also – I had some amazing meetings with young people during the conference, during the summit, who are working on all kinds of initiatives – building businesses, working on women, peace, and security issues, civil society organizations working on human rights – and these are young people who really need to be supported. They don’t need to be motivated. They’re highly motivated. (Applause.) And many of these initiatives will focus on young people. It will focus on their hopes and dreams, and how we give them the capacity and the wherewithal to pursue the dreams that they have for their countries so that they can contribute to and give back to their countries.
QUESTION: That’s right. Yes, thank you.
View the full discussion here.