Guyana’s LCDS successfully exposed in New York

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HEAD of the Presidential Secretariat (HPS), Dr. Roger Luncheon said yesterday that Guyana’s ambitious Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) was, once again, successfully exposed recently in New York.

But President Bharrat Jagdeo, who did it in the United States, has cautioned that further special efforts would be needed, if the necessary momentum is to be developed and sustained for a successful meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark, in December, Luncheon told reporters at his weekly post-Cabinet media briefing at Office of the President, Shiv Chanderpaul Drive, Georgetown.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) is trying to forge a successor agreement to the current Kyoto Protocol which is to be endorsed in Copenhagen and President Jagdeo has been leading the Guyana lobby for forest preservation to be a central plank of the new pact.

Luncheon said the LCDS continued its march to the December, Copenhagen meeting at the special session of the Heads of Government and parallel entities in the international arena convened by United Nation (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

He said President Jagdeo advised Cabinet at its last Tuesday meeting that Guyana’s international image was further elevated and boosted, especially with regards to the several meaningful contacts made and publicity associated with his presence in New York.

“The President, however, cautioned that further special efforts would be needed if the necessary momentum were to be developed and sustained for a successful Copenhagen meeting, a successful one defined by due recognition given to the role of avoided deforestation in climate change adaptation”.

The Head of State on his return last Monday at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, Timehri – after a successful week-long visit to New York where he addressed the 64th Session of the UN General Assembly and co-chaired a crucial climate change meeting with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown – told the media that “Guyana has made the message clear that forest is an important solution to climate change.”

The President noted that “Guyana had a disproportionate amount of access and coverage given its size”.

President Jagdeo was among more than 100 world leaders invited to a special climate change summit convened by the UN Secretary-General, as he continued plugging Guyana’s case, building on the country’s high international profile and leadership role in the global climate change regime.

The special Climate Change Summit was held last Tuesday at the UN headquarters in New York immediately prior to the two-day 64th UN General Assembly at the same venue.

Jagdeo said he was engaged in several activities in New York, to “draw attention to the need not just to address climate change, but the role that forest can play as a solution” and to say that the “business community has an important role to play” in this regard.

“I think these were very important messages but also good contacts for Guyana for the future,” the Head of State said.

Alluding to the several high level events, Jagdeo said he also spoke with the Prime Minister of Norway, and Guyana was one of the few developing countries that had that access, adding, “I think we made the message very, very clear that forests are very important as a solution to climate change.”

Australian Prime Minister lauded Guyana’s leadership on climate change, and meeting with President Jagdeo in New York, Rudd expressed his country’s interest in collaborating with Guyana in the global effort to address climate change.

President Jagdeo also took the opportunity to outline Guyana’s LCDS and Australia has committed to supporting Guyana’s Monitoring Reporting and Verification (MRV) System and remote monitoring of its forests.

This development builds on Guyana’s recent work on developing its MRV System in which several experts from the Australian Climate Office participated.

Prime Minister Rudd and President Jagdeo agreed to continue discussions at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Trinidad in November, to explore other areas of bilateral cooperation on climate change, as well as regional initiatives for the Caribbean Community.

Also, he met with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and had “unprecedented access” to a small group of leaders with the Secretary-General for dinner discussing how “they will break the deadlock”.

President Jagdeo said Guyana was one of the two small developing countries that were invited to that small group of about 30 leaders, with larger ones like Brazil and South Africa.

He joined a prestigious list of World Leaders at a special forum at Columbia University in New York, where scores of persons including many Guyanese turned up to be part of a highly interactive session with the President.

The World Leaders Forum programme, organised by the University’s Earth Institute and the Institute of Latin American Studies, featured a brief keynote address by President Jagdeo, followed by a lengthy question and answer session with the audience.

The President stated that almost every country mentioned the role of forest in the climate change situation.

“I think we have sold that case. We have also sold the case that avoided deforestation must complement REDD (Reduce Emission from Deforestation and Degradation) so what we call REDD+ must be enshrined in the agreement,” he said.

President Jagdeo said he thinks that everyone understands that and there was talk about some interim financing, adding that the key issue is whether they will be able to raise the money.

While in New York, the President was also interviewed by Reuters, one of the largest news agencies in the world; the American TV network, CNN; the BBC, and he also met the editorial board of the prestigious New York Times.

President Jagdeo was also interviewed by the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times.