Carbon credit sale signals ‘exciting times’ for Amerindian communities
NTC Chairman Derrick John
NTC Chairman Derrick John

–NTC Chairman says

NOTING that Guyana’s first sale of its REDD+ jurisdictional carbon credit for at least US$750 million signals “a very exciting time” for all Amerindian communities, Chairman of the National Toshaos Council, Derrick John, called on indigenous Guyanese to ensure that they get involved and be part of the implementation of the important initiatives that will be funded through this initiative.

John, in a statement on Thursday, called on Amerindians to ensure that they familiarise themselves with their respective village plans if they have not done so already, and to ensure that they make their contributions heard, given that Amerindians stand to benefit from at least US$212 million out of the sale.

“I hope that all our communities will familiarise themselves with the other investments that will come to our communities, which will be extra to the 15 per cent and will run nationally – for things like renewable energy, better connectivity, improvements for agricultural and other job- creation opportunities, and continuing the land-titling programme for those communities which are still working towards getting their titles,” John said.

It was on December 2 that Guyana signed an agreement with Hess Corporation for the oil giant to pay a minimum of US$750 million for 30 per cent of the country’s high-quality, REDD+ jurisdictional carbon credits.

The signing of the agreement marked the culmination of a far-reaching vision which was started in 2007 by then President, now Vice President, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo, who lobbied for financing for climate services. This had led to the creation of the first Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS). Earlier this year the government launched LCDS 2030.

The Architecture for REDD+ Transactions (ART) earlier issued the world’s first The REDD+ Environmental Excellence Standard (TREES) credits to Guyana, marking the first time a country has been issued carbon credits specifically designed for the voluntary and compliant carbon markets for successfully preventing forest loss and degradation – a process known as jurisdictional REDD+.

“On behalf of the National Toshaos’ Council, I welcome the issuance of 33.47 million ART TREES credits for Guyana. I also welcome the sale of some of these credits – which will result in payments of at least US$750 million to Guyana,” John said.

He added: “This is a significant moment in a journey that many of us started back in 2009, and I pay tribute to all Guyanese who participated in the hard work it took to get this far. I pay special tribute to all those who took part in the national consultation from October 2021 to July 2022, and who contributed ideas and suggestions that improved the overall strategy. I pay a very special tribute to my Amerindian brothers and sisters who took part in this process.”

The National Toshaos Council is a non-governmental organisation comprising toshaos of Guyana’s 218 Amerindian and other hinterland villages/communities away from the country’s main urban areas, with a population of about 98,000 or 13 per cent of Guyana’s population.

Toshaos (or Village Captains) are directly elected by each village along with elected councillors who act as the executive body of the village. The National Toshaos Council elects an Executive Committee of 20 Toshaos, who in turn elect a Chair.

According to John, who is also Toshao of Moraikobai in Region Five (Mahaica- Berbice), many indigenous Guyanese took part in the consultations all across Guyana, and it is thanks to them that the low-carbon vision is continuing to advance.

“The National Toshaos’ Council was pleased to represent you and endorse the LCDS 2030 at our annual conference in July 2022. Now that we move to a new phase in implementing the LCDS 2030, I am confident that the National Toshaos’ Council will continue to play our part by being supportive of our villages and acting as an independent overseer to represent our communities’ goals,” John said.

He related that there still remains much work to be done, and it is his hope that all Guyanese will play their part in engaging with the indigenous communities and work together to improve Amerindian communities and all of Guyana.


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