Guyana aims to implement Phase 2 of its LCDS – Min Bharrat
– says talks ongoing with Norway to fund project
– boasts of Guyana’s forest management programme
The Government is aiming to implement Phase Two of the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS). As such, it is re-engaging the Kingdom of Norway, which was the source of the funds with which Guyana planned to implement various developmental projects.
This was revealed by Natural Resource Minister Vickram Bharrat during a recent engagement with the media. He revealed that they have already re-engaged Norway to start Phase Two of LCDS, which was renamed the Green State Development Strategy (GSDS) by the former A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Government
“We’ve already re-engaged Norway so that we can start Phase Two of the LCDS programme. We know the LCDS programme was replaced by what was called the Green State Strategy. I’m not sure how much benefits it yielded for Guyana.”
“But through our Vice President Dr Bharrat Jagdeo, we’ve already re-engaged Norway to continue that LCDS, which we’ll call the Phase Two of the LCDS,” the Minister explained.
When it comes to Guyana’s current management of its forest resources, the Minister revealed that Guyana is way ahead of many other countries. He cited Guyana’s neighbour to the East, Suriname.
“I’m happy to say that we probably have the best forest coverage presently among forest producing nations. We have one of the best, sustainable forestry system or harvesting in Guyana. It’s something that is probably second to none,” Minister Bharrat also said.
“Suriname, our neighbour, another forest producer country, we’re way ahead of Suriname in terms of how we manage our forestry activities. It is a model that has been working for us over the years and we will continue to use and improve it, so we protect our forests and wildlife at the same time we are producing.”
Guyana had, in 2009, signed with Norway a historic forest protection accord aimed at Guyana receiving payments for sustaining its rainforests to absorb global carbon emissions. A total of US$250 million was to be paid to Guyana over a five-year period.
It was revealed by Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh during his recent reading of the 2021 budget that Guyana has more than US$135 million in climate change-related funds that it is entitled to but has not been able to access due to the political instability under the former Government. These are funds that the current Government is seeking to have released.
Singh had explained that the former Government’s mismanagement and then the protracted political crisis from when they fell to a No-Confidence Motion in 2018, led to funding not being released to Guyana by Norway.
“When the APNU/AFC Government came into office, they squandered whatever funds were available, and brought the release of the rest of the funds already earned by Guyana to a halt. This culminated in the last payments from Norway being suspended,” the Minister said.
“On top of this lost opportunity, a successor Guyana-Norway agreement for the period from 2015 to 2020 never materialised. Almost US$30 million for existing projects has not been disbursed. More than US$135 million that was earned by Guyana is sitting in bank accounts outside our economy.”
He pointed out that the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project (AFHP), which would have used US$80 million in funding from the LCDS, was torpedoed by APNU/AFC while they were in the combined Opposition and never pursued after 2015.
At a press conference last year, Jagdeo had said the LCDS would be the main document guiding the country’s climate actions. He had also said that the LCDS would also be expanded in the areas of biodiversity, water management and other sectors.
Jagdeo had added that the Government was creating a coordinated and efficient mechanism to deal with all climate and environment-related issues. In this regard, the Government had merged the Office of Climate Change and the Department of the Environment.