Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy

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Statement by the Multi-Stakeholders Steering Committee
THE members of the Multi Stakeholders Steering Committee (MSSC) of Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) take exception to an open letter sent by a group of Guyanese to the government of Norway, which is clearly intended to undermine the implementation of the agreement between the governments of Norway and Guyana to provide Guyana with payments for services rendered in preserving Guyana’s forests.
The MSSC comprises a wide public, private partnership, which includes non-governmental organisations, environmental and indigenous peoples’ organizations, labour and the business community. The civil society members of the MSSC have volunteered their involvement because of their commitment towards establishing a transparent and constructive process to deliver the REDD+ Programme and the LCDS. The MSSC is committed to its responsibility to oversee, assist and guide the process of Guyana’s LCDS.

The MSSC finds it regrettable that the letter seeks to prevent the transfer of funds from Norway to Guyana. These funds have already been earned in accordance with the agreement between Guyana and Norway, and independently reported and verified by recognized and respected institutions and consultants, including the Rainforest Alliance and POYRY Forest Industry.  We are, in fact, astonished that the signatories of the letter should question the credentials of these organizations.

The MSSC readily acknowledges that there has been an inordinate and unwelcome delay in the implementation of the REDD+ programme and in meeting the requirements for the disbursement of the funds to specific projects, projects which, in particular and as a priority, will benefit the development of our Amerindian communities, the first custodians of our forests.

The MSSC wishes to point out that the process involves working in collaboration with partner entities, currently the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank and the United Nations Development Group, in the submission of projects for approval by the GRIF Steering Committee.

As a recent statement from the Norwegian government itself has pointed out, “the Partner Entities are finalizing the transfer agreements between them and the World Bank which have to be in place before funds can flow from the Fund to specific projects” and that “this entails formal procedures in the relevant organizations that will still take some time”.

The MSSC, therefore, holds the view that, while the internal procedures of these multilateral institutions may contribute to slowing the process, we do not share the view that the credibility of these organisations to provide essential fiduciary, social and environmental oversight for project implementation is questionable.

The MSSC believes that Guyanese have a unique opportunity to combat climate change provided through the LCDS. While there are bound to be challenges in the implementation of the Guyana-Norway agreement, the MSSC considers it important to understand that, in the absence of a global REDD+ model, the Guyana-Norway agreement is a pioneering effort worthy of everyone’s support.

Signed by:
Hilbertus Cort                                       Forest Producers Association (FPA)
Carvil Duncan                                       Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana
Yvonne Pearson                                   National Toshaos Council (NTC)
Sydney Allicock                                   North Rupununi District Development Board (NRDDB)
Bertie Xavier                                        North Rupununi District Development Board (NRDDB)
Ashton Simon                                       The National Amerindian Development Foundation
Romel Simon                                        The National Amerindian Development Foundation
Peter Persaud                                       The Amerindian Action Movement of Guyana
Pamela Mendonca                                The Amerindian Action Movement of Guyana
Colin Klautky                                       Guyana Organisation of Indigenous People (GOIP)
Ramesh Dookhoo                                 Private Sector Commission 
Jocelyn Dow                                        Independent Civil Society Member           
Vanda Radzik                                       Independent Civil Society Member      
Joseph Singh                                        Individual Capacity    
David James                                         Individual Capacity          
Minister Pauline Sukhai                        Ministry of Amerindian Affairs  
Shyam Nokta                                       Office of the President
Andrew Bishop                                    Office of the President
Michael Brotherson                              Office of the President
Steven Grin                                          Office of the President             
Alfred King                                          Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports
Hymawattie Lagan                                Women’s Affairs Bureau
George Jervis                                       Ministry of Agriculture
William Woolford                                 Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC)
Pradeepa Bholanath                              Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC)
Indarjit Ramdass                                   Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)