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– Minister Bharrat
The Government of Guyana has commenced talks with Norway to begin ‘phase two’ of the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) which Minister of Natural Resources, Hon. Vickram Bharrat said will enhance communities in the hinterland regions that depend on the forest and forest activities.
Back in 2009, Guyana and Norway signed a US $250 million agreement for the REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF). The agreement sought to ensure that Guyana kept its forest intact, to ensure it harvested in a sustainable manner, and its decarbonisation rate and carbon sink status were maintained.
That partnership remained until 2015, when the Coalition Government took office and undertook the Green State Development Strategy, which was criticised for its vagueness and lack of direction. Minister Bharrat said Guyana was considered the “oxygen tank of the world,” and it was that status that led to the pact between the two countries.
“So that is why we entered into that agreement and they were releasing at that time, approximately $250 million, which we have not received in totality as yet. We have about $80 million still to retrieve from that fund, and that is quite a lot of money that we can use to enhance the communities in the hinterland regions that depend on the forest and forest activities,” he said.
Minister Bharrat said logging communities benefited from the strategy, as they were required to conduct logging activities in a sustainable manner. The money from the Norway fund was used to provide alternative livelihoods for people in those communities, and equipped the Guyana Forestry Commission to monitor and manage the forest.
Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, under whose Presidency the Norway Agreement was signed, said last year that the strategy will be used to guide Guyana’s climate actions. Under GRIF, projects identified included grants to small businesses, a centre for biodiversity studies, ICT for vulnerable communities and Amerindian Land Titling. The LCDS is in line with the PPP/C Government’s vision of ensuring widespread economic development, while at the same time continuing the fight against climate change. (DPI)