STAKEHOLDERS in the Extractive Industries Sector (EIS), namely Forestry and Mining, yesterday reiterated that harmonising this sector with the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) was indispensable for the growth of a healthy and sustainable society.
The occasion was a forum on the sector under the theme: “Bridging Guyana’s Mining Sector with its Low-Carbon Development Path: Stimulating Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue-Facilitating Convergence”, a theme arising from a recently published study on the EIS and its relation to the LCDS.
The study on the EIS had been produced by Conservation International Guyana, the World Wildlife Fund Guianas and ‘Projekt-Consult GmbH’, a Germany-based consultancy company in the field of international cooperation, with the assistance of the Federal Republic of Germany.
The study comprised a synopsis of issues and recommendations for the mining sector in particular, as a sustainable element of the LCDS.
It addressed harmonisation of activities of the EIS with the LCDS.
The venue of the forum was Cara Lodge Suites in Quamina Street and those who attended and participated included Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, Robert Persaud, Opposition Parliamentarian, Dr. Rupert Roopnarine, Country Manager of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Guianas, Dr. Patrick Williams, Chairman of the Private Sector Commission, Ronald Webster, Executive Director of Conservation International (Guyana), Dr. David Singh, members of the Diplomatic Corps, miners and foresters and administrators of the mining and forestry industries.
The programme, moderated by Mr. Carlton James, included remarks by Minister Persaud, Mr. Ronald Webster, Dr. David Singh and Dr. Patrick Williams.
In brief remarks on the contents of the study, Minister Persaud said that although it was primarily diagnostic and did not elaborate any methodologies for the harmonisation of the EIS and the LCDS, his ministry has found it to be a useful tool for measuring its performance in pursuing balance between extraction and the environment.
He lauded the fact that perceptions that the LCDS would have limited or restricted the operations of mining and forestry have changed to the extent that all major stakeholders now recognise that for the extractive industry to be successful and viable it must be in sync with the LCDS.
He reiterated that the establishment of the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment was the first step towards this synchronisation, stressing that the ministry had enabled a more uniform way to further the development of the EIS while ensuring balance between sustainable utilisation of those resources and ensuring proper environmental management.
He said the study is being used as one of the tools to ensure that what the ministry was doing at both the policy and operational level of the various agencies are congruent with some of the advice and directions offered.
“Our work towards sustainable development of the EIS is a work in progress. We have had some successes but we are not yet fully there. I welcome this contribution which will be used as a matrix to measure progress,” he said.
The report had stated, inter alia, that Guyana’s vast natural resource wealth endowment provides the country with a comparative advantage particularly in the extractive industry sector (EIS).
In order to optimise the contribution of this sector to the sustainable development of the country, it stated that natural resource extraction must reflect integrated and forward thinking, planning and development and meaningful and sustained collaboration between key groups of society including government, the private sector, civil society and the broader Guyanese population.
This will ensure that the EIS is competitive and socially and environmentally responsible, demonstrating its alignment with the national development strategy.
In addition to several recommendations, the report proposed a multi-stakeholder platform which will enable exchange of information, establish common understandings and promote the development of a set of benchmarks for responsible mining practices at all scales.
A copy of the report entitled: “Guyana’s Extractive Industry Sector (EIS) A synopsis of issues and recommendations for the mining sector as a sustainable element of Guyana’s LCDS”, can be downloaded from the Internet.