–to help diversify economy, create more jobs among other positive developmental goals
THE Low-Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) will be resuscitated as part of Guyana’s national developmental agenda, one in a number of measures that cater to the country’s plan to work towards the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The visionary strategy through which Guyana was able to earn over US$200 million for the preservation of its forests was discontinued by the Coalition government.
Among plans for the reinstated LCDS are the strengthening of the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) Act, as well as improved measures for the National Protected Areas System (NPAS).
This was highlighted by Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance, Gail Teixeira on Friday as she spoke in support of the 2020 Budget when the budget debates continued before the National Assembly. Teixeira said that notwithstanding the Opposition’s objections to the budget, it contains several measures that will help position the country on a path to sustainable development.
“We will reinstate the LCDS to help achieve prosperity for our people, by applying earnings from forest service to diversifying the economy and create more jobs and opportunities, using non-carbon-intensive pathways,” Minister Teixeira said, adding: “The LCDS was broadened to include wider environment services, including integrated water resources management and climate resistance.”
Launched in 2009, the LCDS was intended to place Guyana’s economy on a low-carbon, sustainable development trajectory, while simultaneously combatting climate change.
The integrated strategy examined how Guyana could deploy its forests in mitigating climate change, while also gaining financial and other support for doing so.
To that effect, Guyana, in the said 2009, signed a multi-year Forest Protection Agreement with Norway, which saw the Norwegian government committing to providing Guyana with up to US$250M by 2015 for avoiding deforestation, once certain performance indicators were met.
With the change of administration in 2015, however, the incoming APNU+AFC government discontinued the initiative, and replaced it with its own Green State Development Strategy.
IN LINE WITH SDGs
In her more than 30-minute address to the House, Minister Teixeira noted that several measures in the budget are aligned with a number of issues that were brought up by UN Secretary-General António Guterres in an earlier meeting with herself and Prime Minister Mark Phillips, where the SDGs were discussed.
“There are three important things he talks about: One is that the political will is needed for inclusive governance; two, you need transformative changes to change the way the world deals with the gaps between the rich and the poor. And thirdly, climate resilience; the effort of using alternative means to having development,” Teixeira said.
The SDGs, of which there are 17, are a number of goals intended to end global poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for everyone by 2030.
“When we listen to the UN meeting,” Minister Teixeira said, “what became clear is that what we are talking about in this budget is congruent with what the SDGs talk about: Relief for single mothers, assistance to health workers, using technology to teach children in the situation, to make sure that children have equitable access to education. It talks about housing and having better water; everything to do with the SDGs is reflected here. We as a government have not departed from the goals we have to reach.”
Besides listing a menu of tax reduction measures in the budget that will benefit Guyanese across the board, she noted that not only is it simple and uncomplicated, but it’s also designed to put the country back on a positive path.
“This budget explains, very simply, a couple of principles upon which the PPP/C government is based,” she said, adding: “I’ve listened to the different presenters on the Opposition side saying the budget is clueless and visionless. I’m not really surprised! You were clueless and visionless when you were in government, and nothing has changed since you became the opposition!”
Taking the Opposition to task for their handling of a number of situations during their time in office over the past five years, among those that readily came to mind were their imposing themselves upon the Public Service and Police Service Commissions, and Guyana Elections Commission, in contravention of the Constitution during their time in office. In those instances, the APNU+AFC was taken to court, where it was reaffirmed that the then government was overstepping its boundaries.
As a parting shot, she told her colleagues on the opposite side of the House, “Your credibility has been destroyed over the last five years, and moreso over the last five months. The legacy you have left this country is one of a government that was inaccessible; invisible. You didn’t go down and talk to the people. I could name village after village where they say no ministers for five years; for three years.”