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The United Nations Development Programme on Friday officially launched the 7th Operational Phase of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Programme (SGP) in Guyana.
The launch was held virtually, with a limited number of stakeholders in attendance at UN House, UNDP said in a press release. Attendees included stakeholders from the public and private sector, diplomatic corps, civil society and academia.
The 7th Operational Phase (OP7) of the SGP, aims to “promote and support innovative, inclusive and scalable initiatives, and foster multi-stakeholder partnerships at the local level to tackle global environmental issues in priority landscapes and seascapes”.
The GEF SGP complements the work of the Government of Guyana by creating a funding platform that contributes positively to key developmental goals. This is accomplished through the direct engagement of grassroots organisations and local communities in decision making for the creation of sustainable environmental solutions that enhance their well-being and livelihoods.
The GEF SGP has been active in Guyana since 2013 and invested more than USD 941,000 in 24 projects with more than USD 925,000 in cash and in-kind co-financing. The projects’ geographic coverage includes seven of the ten administrative regions (1 to 6 & 9). Under OP7, a total of USD 500,000 has been earmarked for SGP Guyana to implement environmental-based projects.
During his remarks, Mr. Jairo Valverde, the Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme posited that the “SGP embodies the essence of sustainable development through our approach of thinking globally, acting locally, and has the comparative advantage of working with community groups for innovative, impactful, inclusive projects and initiatives which enhance the well-being and livelihoods of people including women, indigenous people and youth”. Mr Valverde affirmed that Operational Phase 7 is SGP Guyana’s third funding phase, and OP 7 targeted projects will be community-driven initiatives implemented through active partnerships with local organisations and indigenous groups”
The feature address was delivered by Ms. Sharifah Razack, Deputy Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency and representative of the GEF Operational Focal Point. Ms. Razack outlined the guiding principle that governs the initiatives supported by the SGP, which is, they are spearheaded by communities. This Ms. Razack said creates a sense of ownership.
Additionally, the communities implement their projects under the guidance of the SGP which creates the conditions for knowledge transfer and building competence. Before closing, the Deputy Executive Director reaffirmed the EPA’s commitment to ensuring that the funded projects meet the objectives of Operational Phase 7, which will be assured through the EPA’s resuscitation of the GEF National Working Group.
The GEF SGP Guyana also signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the Guyana Marine Conservation Society for the implementation of a USD 145,000 project in region 1 titled Developing tools for collaborative management of the Barima-Mora Passage Mangrove Area. The project is multifocal and focuses on creating enabling conditions to empower region 1 indigenous stakeholders to enhance their environmental stewardship to conserve, monitor and co-manage the area, in collaboration with the relevant government agencies whilst benefiting from their natural resources.
The first Call for Project Concepts was also opened today and closes on February 28, 2022. Guyanese registered Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) are invited to submit project concepts, following the Call for Project Concepts guidelines and not exceeding USD 50,000 within the following thematic priorities: Community-based conservation of threatened ecosystems and species; Sustainable agriculture and fisheries, and food security; Local to global coalitions for chemicals and waste management; Low carbon energy access with co-benefits and SGP Guyana Knowledge Management.
The GEF SGP is implemented by the United Nations Development Programme and executed by the United Nations Office for Project Services. The SGP aligns its Operational Phase strategies with those of the GEF and co-financing partners and provides a global portfolio of innovative, inclusive, and impactful projects that address global environmental and sustainable development issues.