Green State Development Strategy

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DURING 13th-15th December, the United Nations Environmental Programme, in partnership with the Guyana Government, will be proceeding with consultation towards developing “Guyana’s Green State Development Strategy.”

Funding for the project will come from Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF), and it is expected that a document will be prepared within a four-week time frame. That Government is proceeding with appropriate action to realise a commitment it made — that in 2017, mechanisms will be put in place for the building of a green economy — is commendable. It also is of consequence that, inherent is the development of this strategy, Government is reaching out to stakeholders.

This action exemplifies the belief grounded in Article 13 of the Guyana Constitution: that involvement is required of groups and individuals in the management and decision-making processes of the state that impact their well-being. Embarking on a consultative process in our diverse society allows for wide-ranging participation, wherein ideas and perspectives can flow from varying groups, professions and communities. At the same time, it must be cautioned that for the nation to reap maximum benefit from ideas, it would require a clear philosophy as to what constitutes a green state.

The green economy has been much touted since the APNU+AFC Administration took the reins of Government. Public discussions on this economic model have not been without some level of uncertainty as to what it constitutes and how it can work. It is important, therefore, that these kinks be ironed out from the get-go, in order to make best use of the resources and time available.

What will not be to the country’s best interest is if, at the end of this consultative process, there is an absence of clarity and consensus on what constitutes the green economy; how its model can lead to the creation of a better state; and how the programme would redound to the growth and development of the people.

Similarly, it ought not to be lost sight of that the characteristics of development in each country will be unique, and must accordingly be pursued.

In pursuing any developmental strategy, it would help should recognition not only be given to the goals, but also how these will impact on humankind and society. The term green state seems to be indigenous to Guyana, but embodies the components of a green economy. Consequently, it would bring clarity and meaning to the process should the terminology be examined and a common understanding agreed on in regard to what the policymakers intended to achieve.
The green economy (or green state), according to its proponents, is a developmental policy grounded in the Human Development Index of the host country. In seeking to implement this policy, recognition has to be given to the various pillars therein, and what are required for adherence.

In preparing Guyana to transition to a green state, it cannot be ignored that in many instances the country has ways to go, and getting there requires will and commitment by the people and their leaders. For instance: the management of liquid sewage is yet to confirm to the Cartegena Convention to which Guyana is a signatory. In significant part, our forest requires sustainable management, and this may require new laws and stringent enforcement, public education, and technical support in the extraction and reforestation processes. There will be expectations that our labour policies confirm to international labour conventions, charters, and laws.

Moving to a green state can reap dividends. There is no denying Guyana has prime and rich resources which, should they be exploited under a new policy, would put the people at the centre of development, there can be reduction/elimination of many social ills. These include poverty; less industrial conflicts; improved and enhanced productivity; improved health and longevity through less reliance on processed and chemically produced foods; better management of waste disposal and natural resources, which can bring about the protection of the environment.

“Guyana’s Green State Development Strategy” is a dream worthy of support. For quite some time, the country has been deprived of a development strategy, though there is a National Development Strategy that was compiled with the involvement of stakeholders in the 1990s, which has been placed on the shelves to gather dust. With clarity, vision, an indigenous programme, and enabling environment, Guyana is poised for transformation. This is our moment and time to charter a new course by bringing diverse talents, skills, and visons together for the growth and development of all the people and country.