EU an important partner in bridging technology gap, climate change mitigation – Ali

…also calls for EU to work with Guyana in improving trade, business

The European Union (EU) has been described by President Dr. Irfaan Ali as an important partner, not only in coming up with climate change mitigation strategies, but also in bridging Guyana’s technology gap.

President Dr Irfaan Ali (right) and EU Ambassador René Van Nes during Europe Day observations

On Tuesday, the European Union in Guyana held its annual Europe Day celebrations at the Georgetown Club. During the celebrations, President Dr. Irfaan Ali, fresh from his visit to the United Kingdom, spoke of Guyana’s ties with Europe.
“We’re working on the Global Gateway Initiative. In this initiative, the European Union, we’re pursuing different areas that all lead to sustainable development, resilience, and the development of projects that will mitigate against climate change. Adaptation measures using science and technology – advancing our countries so that we would bridge or narrow that technology gap looking at the issues of renewable energy. All of this is part of that Global Gateway Plan that we’re working closely with the EU to incorporate in our own development path,” the President further said.
Another related area is Guyana’s technology gap, which President Ali noted the EU is helping Guyana to bridge. This, according to President Ali, is the only way Guyana can develop in a sustainable and resilient way.
“We are not thinking in a narrow way. The thinking process of the policy-makers of this country is about bridging a gap as fast as possible. And here is where the European Union, with their technology, must be part of supporting this bridging. We cannot move to 2030 through a straight line; we must adopt the best technology and systems in the world now, and work backwards to bring our population to meet those standards and technology. That is the only way we can get ahead of things,” he further said.
President Ali further noted that the EU should provide Guyana with support to ensure ease of doing business. He acknowledged that the EU has always been a stable development partner to Guyana.
“What we would like now is for the Ambassador to work with us on ensuring that, as we develop our own systems, that we have all the requirements that would ensure the ease of doing business and trade with the European Union,” he said.
“The infrastructure and institutions must be within the standards that the European Union accepts, but we must be helped to ensure that those standards are easily met, and hurdles are not placed in the path of expanding our trade with the EU,” Ali said.

Tangible targets
According to President Ali, Guyana has had success, and must continue to work to meet tangible and measurable targets. This comes even as Guyana and the EU will soon be launching a Business Chamber to facilitate further trade and investment.
Last year, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had commended Guyana’s climate change mitigation efforts, which the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government has been addressing on multiple fronts. According to the IMF in its statement on the conclusion of its Article IV consultation with Guyana, the Government has been making efforts to build climate change resilience. Guyana’s climate mitigation efforts have included the construction of a secondary city, Silica City, away from the Low Coastal Plain which is flood-prone.
The Government has also been implementing an updated Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) that includes the provision of environmental services, the protection of biodiversity and water resources, the development of marine economy, and the promotion of climate resilience. The enhanced LCDS would allow Guyana to further decarbonise onshore economic activities.
The LCDS was first launched on June 8, 2009, and the revised version was published in May 2010. This version was subsequently launched in March 2013. The new draft is intended to continue and build upon the work started in 2008.
Money from the LCDS has since created low-carbon jobs; enabled Amerindian villages to receive legal titles for communal lands; rehabilitated the Cunha Canal to protect against flooding; and started to equip Amerindian and hinterland communities with renewable energy, digital infrastructure and sustainable livelihood opportunities.
It seeks to create a new low-carbon economy in Guyana by establishing incentives which value the world’s ecosystem services and promote these as an essential component of a new model of global development, with sustainability at its core.
The United Nations (UN) Global Roadmap sets out the target that the world must achieve to attain net-zero emissions by 2050. It involves balancing the amount of greenhouse gas produced with the amount removed from the atmosphere.
At the 26th session of the Conference of Parties (COP26) in 2021, Guyana committed to reducing carbon emissions by 70 per cent by 2030. The cleaner energy mix to be undertaken involves the use of natural gas through a 250-megawatt plant, reducing the use of fossil fuel. This is in combination with the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project (AFHP) and solar farms.
President Ali had previously said Guyana is poised to lead the Net Zero by 2050 Agenda through its robust plans for energy security and renewable generation, while continuously recording increased economic prosperity. (G3)