Investing in sustainable climate action means securing economic future for Guyana – acting President

…urges regional leaders to prioritise disaster risk reduction policies

Guyana is aware that securing its economic future means investing in sustainable climate action, acting President, Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips told the Seventh Regional Platform Meeting for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in the Americas and the Caribbean on Thursday.

Acting President, Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips addressing the Seventh Regional Platform Meeting for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in the Americas and the Caribbean

Prime Minister Phillips, who is performing the functions of President, said that Governments within the Region must place DRR policies as national priorities and mainstream disaster risk management into all aspects of their countries’ developmental efforts.
“Over just a few months, our Region has been faced with an earthquake which has devastated our brothers and sisters in Haiti, volcanic eruption which has created complex emergency response challenges for St Vincent and the Grenadines and surrounding islands, and persistent floods, which have had severe impact on our productive sector in Guyana, Suriname and other parts of South, Central America and the Caribbean…our assignment now is to get ahead of the curve,” he noted.
The acting Head of State highlighted Guyana’s efforts in Government’s drive to make the necessary changes.
“A few days ago, Guyana launched our Low Carbon Development Strategy 2030. A strategy that is intended to map Guyana’s new growth trajectory, guiding the management of our rich natural resources in line with Sustainable Development Goals. This strategy is supported by our Comprehensive Disaster Management Country Work Programme 2021-2025, an important tool to guide our country’s continued and increasing investments in DRR. Together these frameworks form the undercurrent of our development thrust,” Phillips is quoted as saying by the Office of the Prime Minister.
Guyana, he noted, has ongoing major investments to strengthen sea defence infrastructure in vulnerable coastal communities. “There’s also extensive enhancement of road networks to support sustainable development with a view of enhanced evacuation planning. Rehabilitation of drainage and irrigation systems to reduce flood risk is also ongoing,” Phillips said.
The Seventh Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas and the Caribbean was aimed at raising awareness about the increasing challenges faced by Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) with regard to enhanced natural disasters stemming from the effects of climate change.
The four-day event, which concluded today, was themed “Building Resilient Economies in the Americas and the Caribbean”.

LCDS initiative
Launched virtually on Thursday by President Dr Irfaan Ali, Guyana’s LCDS 2030 outlines Government’s plans for clean energy and a suite of low-carbon development opportunities that will drive the future low- carbon development of the country.
The LCDS initiative was the brainchild of former President and now Vice President, Bharrat Jagdeo, and was launched in 2009 as the first low carbon development strategy from a developing country.
According to President Ali, while the scale of vision captured 12 years ago remains valid today, a lot has happened since then hence the concept of the initiative has been refashioned to reflect the current-day context of low-carbon development.
A key feature of LCDS 2030 is the transformation of Guyana’s energy landscape with the aim of ensuring that the nation is fully powered by affordable and non-polluting power in the next decade.
The Head of State posited that the country’s high cost of electricity, which is 97 per cent dependent on imported fossil fuels, would have been countered with the completion of the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project (AFHP) – the flagship initiative under Jagdeo’s LCDS.
President Ali said on Thursday that his government would resume this project as part of its clean energy transition – a three-phase initiative under LCDS 2030.
The first phase covers 2022-2027, during which there is anticipated to be a near tripling of electricity demand in the country. This, the President noted, will be met through a combination of natural gas from offshore oil production operations and the AFHP to boost the main national grid.
Added to this will be a major expansion of solar power with batteries on the rural networks.
In 2022, work will start on the implementation of Guyana’s Climate Resilience Strategy and Action Plan, which was produced using revenues received under the Guyana-Norway partnership. Work will re-start to implement the strategy and upgrade sea defences, irrigation systems, build agriculture systems that are more resilient and address the threat to public health from climate change,” the President added.
Meanwhile, as Government outlines its transformation vision under LCDS 2030, the 110-page document has been made public and will undergo a four-month consultation to get feedback from stakeholders countrywide. A Multi-Stakeholder Steering Committee will be reconstituted to carry out these discussions before the initiative receives final approval.
During this time, however, President Ali reassured citizens that no agreements would be entered into, before LCDS 2030 is finalised.