Gender Equality: Women and girls play integral role in supporting Guyana’s sustainable development  
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IN the framework of Guyana’s response to climate change, environmental protection, and disaster risk reduction – all key elements of Guyana’s sustainable development targets – there has been a continued focus and prioritisation on advancing action on gender equality and empowering women and girls.

Guyana has been and continues to promote gender equality through comprehensive and integrated efforts at the local level.

Gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls have been the subject of ongoing discussions and efforts on both a national and international level. Due to the disproportionate effects of climate change on women and girls, Guyana continues to work towards educating and actively incorporating women and girls as change makers and leaders in the fight against climate change and disaster risk reduction.

In order to address climate change and alter the economy, Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy 2030 (LCDS 2030) mainstreams the participation of women and girls, particularly in Indigenous communities, in important low-carbon growth sectors.

In 2011-2012, women from the village of Victoria, on the East Coast of Demerara, took part in the Guyana Mangrove Restoration Project (GMRP), which generated much needed employment. It also generated income sources for women.  The overall goal of the GMRP was grounded in the need to respond to climate change by reducing its impact through the protection, rehabilitation, and prudent use of Guyana’s mangrove ecosystems.

Tapping into the processes that preserve the protective function, values, and biodiversity of mangrove forests, opened opportunities to respond to the needs for socioeconomic development and environmental protection in estuarine and coastal areas.

Women who worked on this project reaped major benefits from the strategy’s first phase since its 2009 commencement, notably through micro, small, and entrepreneurial firms, initiatives, and job opportunities.

They also received training in climate-wise agriculture, sustainable forestry, photography, and business development, which received 62 per cent of the low-carbon cash incentives.

According to a representative from NAREI, the GRMP and its components have been incorporated into NAREI and are now part of the institute’s annual programme. According to them, NAREI’s Mangrove Restoration and Management Department continues to pilot innovative technologies to restore degraded mangrove areas along the coast, conduct research and promote mangrove livelihood initiatives.

As part of its 2023 programme, an assessment of livelihood opportunities along the coast (Regions1-6) will be completed to promote small business opportunities linked to sustainable management and conservation of mangroves. The initiative is intended to build on the apiculture livelihood project successfully completed under the GMRP.

In Guyana, forests comprise close to 85 per cent of the country’s land mass. The proportion of forest cover is the second highest on the planet and the current government was able to secure climate financing for an Amerindian Development Fund (ADF), which benefited 180 communities, bolstered village economies, and created hundreds of jobs for indigenous women, by preserving the forest and addressing some of the most pressing climate challenges the world is currently facing.

Through the provision of laptops and the establishment of ICT hubs powered by solar systems, climate funding is currently bridging the ICT divide for rural women and girls, revolutionizing the way they access social and government services.

Consequently, Guyana’s women are pioneering solutions to save Guyana’s valuable environmental resources and are at the forefront of climate action and activism.

Further, the fast-growing low-carbon eco-tourism industry in Guyana offers employment options for women living in rural and remote villages and the dedication and desire of every nation to lessen the catastrophic effects of climate change globally, is crucial to Guyana’s ability to achieve gender equality globally.

The Guyana Marine Conservation Society, which is an NGO, has taken the lead in developing the skills of young women from hinterland communities and female marine scientists to fly drones and monitor resources that are essential to maintaining the ecosystem of mangroves as barriers to sea level rise.

Also, with the agricultural sector remaining the foundation of Guyana’s food security, the country has notably placed a high priority on strengthening women’s engagement in agricultural production chains as well as their education in techniques for coping with climate change.

Thus far, the mangroves have significantly aided in  marine defence in Guyana. It has dampened the wave action and lowered the wave energy, trapping sediments and stabilizing the shoreline substrates. They have also played a crucial role in carbon sequestration; that is, they contribute to reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere with the goal of reducing climate change in the country and globally.

Mainstreaming the role of women is also supporting public buy-in or ownership of LCDS 2030 initiatives. As a result, strategies to address their frequently unequal access to resources will be created. Resources under Guyana’s LCDS 2030 can also be used to increase the opportunities available to women and widen their range of choices by providing them with access to low-cost financial resources and opportunities for skill-building.

The government of Guyana recognizes that Guyana’s transition to a low-carbon path depends on all residents and is accomplished through an intergenerational strategy to policy development, decision-making, programme implementation, and stakeholder ownership.

The role of women and girls in Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy, creates significant opportunities for innovation, leadership and sustaining livelihoods at the community level.  This priority is a cornerstone of the LCDS 2030 implementation.

(This is part of a weekly series on LCDS.) The author can be contacted at

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