Upgraded LCDS to be released within two weeks


will integrate details of Quarter Billion US Dollar Guyana-Norway Agreement
An upgraded version of Guyana’s ground-breaking Low Carbon Development Strategy will be released within the next two weeks.

The new version will reflect the input of the recently concluded four-month national consultation on the strategy. It will also integrate the details of the agreement signed between Guyana and Norway earlier this week, where Norway committed to paying Guyana for forest climate services to the value of up to a quarter of a billion dollars by 2015.

This commitment is the second largest commitment in history to a single country’s efforts to combat deforestation. It represents a significant milestone on the road to creating the economic incentives which might make it possible to implement the vision first outlined by President Jagdeo three years ago – where the people of Guyana might be willing to place almost the entire forest at the service of the world provided their sovereignty over the forest is not affected.

The new LCDS document will be released just weeks before the Copenhagen meeting of the UNFCCC, where Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy is expected to receive considerable international attention. Guyana’s delegation will be led by President Bharrat Jagdeo and the Chairperson of the National Toshao’s Council, Yvonne Pearson.

Norwegian Minister of International Development and Environment Mr. Erik Solheim during his remarks at the MOU signing ceremony on Monday at Fairview village in the heart of Guyana’s scenic rainforest. Others in photo are Chairperson of the National Toshao’s Council, Yvonne Pearson; Minister of Amerindian Affairs Ms. Pauline Sukhai; and President Bharrat Jagdeo. (Mark Ramotar photos)

Ms Pearson is the elected head of all the country’s toshaos, who themselves are elected by their individual villages. In advance of the Copenhagen meeting, President Jagdeo will be meeting with other Heads of State at meetings in London, Manaus and Port of Spain.

The President has said that Guyana is now in a position to provide other countries with a model, but other forest countries would only be interested if they had confidence in the predictability of payments for the climate services they provide.

In an invited comment, President Jagdeo said “In Guyana, we are starting the process of re-orienting our entire economy. Countries cannot be expected to do something so significant without reliable support from international partners.

Amerindians, across gender and age differences, listen attentively during last Monday’s historic signing ceremony at Fairview Village.

If the world wants to stop deforestation, people need to wake up to the fact that solutions are doable and affordable. But they also need to know that success will not be achieved through out-dated aid modalities. Providing climate services is far more comparable to a business transaction between equal partners, where one party has a service that the other should pay for based on exacting performance metrics.”

The agreement between Guyana and Norway is set out in a Memorandum of Understanding, which expresses “a willingness to work together to provide the world with a relevant, replicable model for how REDD-plus can align the development objectives of forest countries with the world’s need to combat climate change.” Under the agreement, Norway will pay Guyana for avoided deforestation relative to an agreed metric. The MOU is supported by a detailed concept note, where the two parties establish a potential way forward on all the issues that have influenced the REDD-plus negotiations to date.

‘KEY PLAYERS’: Mr. Michael Brotherson – climate change official – and Mr. Shyam Nokta, Head of Guyana’s Office of Climate Change at Fairview village on Monday last.

President Jagdeo said: “The MOU and supporting concept note set an extremely high standard for a premium product. When we supply Norway and others with forest climate services, we will do so in a manner that ensures quality in all aspects of the transaction, and not just the carbon aspect. Strictly speaking, we didn’t have to do this, but since the start of this year, we have been urging that the standards should be high so that we can demonstrate the ability of forest countries like ours to provide the best possible climate solutions. Forest countries are ready to provide this quality product. But it is increasingly apparent that with notable exceptions, like Norway, most of the developed world is lagging behind forest countries and hiding behind reports and letters about reports to delay progress. This must change, we are running out of time.”

Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Amerindian Affairs Mr. Nigel Dharamlall; Former Minister of Local Government and Regional Development Mr. Harripersaud Nokta; and Chief Executive Officer of IWOKRAMA Mr. Dane Gobin at the Guyana-Norway MOU signing ceremony on Monday last.

The agreement between Guyana and Norway was informed throughout by the ongoing negotiations within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and the two countries have specifically stated that their goal is to work together to secure an effective global climate deal.

The MOU states that: “The overarching goal of this cooperation will be to contribute to the establishment of a new, global climate regime and the further improvement of this regime over time.”

The updated LCDS will show how the Guyana-Norway agreement is the start of a phased approach to integrate Guyana’s climate services into the global economy, where ultimately a value is placed on Guyana’s forests that make them more economically valuable alive than dead. The LCDS will set out how this could happen over the next decade, and how Norway’s payments will catalyse the start of that process.

Several officials from the Government, Diplomatic Community and Private Sector were also present at the Fairview ceremony.

The current draft of the LCDS sets out how Guyana can limit forest-based emissions, convert almost its entire energy sector to clean energy, accelerate the development of low carbon economic sectors and address the huge challenges the country is facing in adapting to climate change (in 2005, floods caused economic damage equivalent to 60% of GDP).

Norway’s Minister of the Environment, Mr Erik Solheim, described Guyana’s approach as “visionary”, and said “Saving the world’s remaining tropical forests is a crucial element in the battle against climate change, and we are proud to support Guyana’s contribution in that effort. We are committed to providing US30 million dollars to the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund in 2010. Providing that the expected results are achieved and other elements of the partnership fall into place, our support for the years up to 2015 could add up to as much as US250 million dollars.”

The LCDS, Guyana-Norway MOU and Concept Note can be found at www.lcds.gov.gy.
For further questions, persons can contact Mr. Shyam Nokta at the Office of Climate Change at 592-223-5205 or 223-0917 or email at snokta@op.gov.gy or info@op.gov.gy