Govt now tapping into LCDS funds for “green” development

After criticising PPP initiative
– to draw down $1.4B

The 2019 Budget estimates show that Government will be drawing down on over $1 billion from the Low Carbon Development Strategy, a legacy from the former Government’s time in office.
This was revealed during the examination of the budget estimates in the National Assembly. Opposition Member of Parliament Irfaan Ali had zeroed in on the allocation and questioned whether the money would be spent as envisioned by the strategy.
“I see here that you’re going to draw down $1.4 billion. Would the honourable Minister agree that this strategy has brought tremendous benefit to our country and secondly, can the Minister say whether the components being financed by this draw down are the same as outlined in the Low Carbon Development Strategy,” Ali asked.Norway, through the REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF), is contributing the $1.4 billion. In response to Ali’s question, Finance Minister Winston Jordan gave a breakdown of how the money will be spent.
“On this programme for $1.4 billion, institutional strengthening for 2019 is being allocated $55.3 million; Amerindian land titling, $73.7 million; the Cunha Canal rehabilitation, $219.8 million.”
“ICT (Information and Communication Technology) access for hinterland and poor remote communities, (will get) $453.8 million,” the Finance Minister added.
In addition, Jordan noted that the areas of sustainable land development and management will receive $551 million. Also on the spending agenda is allocating $37 million towards the green state economic development strategy.
Responding to Ali’s queries about the importance of the strategy, Jordan admitted that any initiative that will aid Government’s green agenda will be a welcome one.
“Anything green, as we’re going green, and any strategy or any component or any works that will promote us or help us go green, we cannot scoff at,” Jordan said. “We have to be in support of any programme for going green.”
With the coalition Government in office, the LCDS has taken a back seat to the Green State Development Strategy. The strategy was subject to consultations and the revised version is expected to be made available to the public in January.
The parliamentary Opposition has said the initial document is vague and lacks opportunities as an economic strategy to earn revenue.
In the original framework document, a critical element was the sustainable management of natural resources. In fact, one of the strategy’s goals is the mandatory reforestation of mining sites.
According to the document, it will aim to “conserve an additional two million hectares through Guyana’s National Protected Area System, continuing to use its monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) system”.
It also plans on “continuing promotion of the Iwokrama as a dedicated place for research “to develop, demonstrate, and make available to Guyana and the international community systems, methods and techniques for the sustainable management and utilisation of the multiple resources of the Tropical Forest and the conservation of biological diversity.”
In the document, it is stated that a combination of conservation and sustainable management of forests will form the crux of the strategy. It is noted that attracting additional international support for avoided deforestation through reforms in timber industries will include reduced-impact logging.
The framework document had initially stated that the elements of the strategy would be examined and consulted on since last year. Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo has been strong in criticising the framework.
The LCDS, which the coalition Government says the GSDS is built on, was Jagdeo’s brainchild as President.