Indigenous girls take active lead in implementing Guyana’s LCDS 2030

A PRIORITY focus of the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) 2030 is the leadership of women and girls in climate action.
One such example is seen in action through veteran Environmentalist Annette Arjoon-Martins, who is currently working in one of Guyana’s most pristine mangrove ecosystems located within the Barima Mora Passage.

Mrs Arjoon-Martins explained that under the work programme implemented through the Guyana Marine Conservation Society (GMCS), several indigenous girls were given the opportunity to learn how to use drones as part of an innovative monitoring programme for mangroves in this area.
She added that “the girls are part of providing a service to this valuable ecosystem, which essentially involves monitoring the natural resources of the Barima Mora Passage.”

The girls are not only monitoring the mangrove ecosystem, but they are also conducting applied marine research near shore.
According to Mrs Martins, young women are a big part of contributing to several environmental actions that are aiding in the fight against climate change through innovation and technological applications. Martins said that the girls are equipped with drones that allow them to explore the use of new technology in environmental management. By the end of the year, the girls anticipate that they will be gathering soil samples and mangrove litter to evaluate the carbon stored in the remote coastal environments that have previously been inaccessible to scientists.

A total of 47,000 hectares (116,000 acres), including 14,000 hectares (35,000 acres) of mangroves, are inspected by the girls every three months, using drones. This work feeds into the implementation of LCDS 2030, which builds on the national-scale Monitoring Reporting and Verification (MRV) system implemented by the Guyana Forestry Commission.
This programme also provides valuable input to the work programme of the Protected Areas Commission as part of implementing the Strategic Plan for the Protected Areas System.

Project Administrator and Communications Officer for GMCS Sarah Singh and some of the girls in the forest

Mrs Martins continued by saying that “We have been earning from our forest since the Norway Agreement in 2009, so this is not new for us, but the difference is that with the Hess cooperation [sic], it is a substantial amount of money, and we are able to have access to our own money from the carbon credits. It is encouraging to see that the resources from the carbon credits are fast-tracked to the communities by the Government of Guyana, as these communities have their village-sustainability plans developed, outlining the development needs of the village with a strong focus on maintaining the integrity of the forest ecosystems.”

She continued: “I understand that the National Toshaos’ Council working with the government has been supporting villages in developing village-sustainability plans to advance this process. This programme will showcase how villages can use carbon-credit payments to develop their respective communities, which will be a good thing for them.”

Some of the indigenous girls with their drones in Region One

Further, MrsMartins added, “I am a big admirer of Dr Jagdeo and him championing environmental causes globally, putting Guyana on the world map with his LCDS in 2009, getting the Norway agreement, and in 2020 expanding on the LCDS 2030, which provides an expanded vision to the original LCDS in 2009. That is obviously very remarkable, and I want to acknowledge Dr Jagdeo for prioritising this area and in bringing community-led action within national programmes. LCDS 2030 has provided an opportunity for us to have the girls engage in work beyond what they are doing for the GMCS. I have seen both President Ali and Vice President Jagdeo deliver on their promises of support to this and other initiatives on community development, especially in the area of women’s empowerment, and in very tangible ways. “President Ali right now has pledged and supported training 15 young indigenous girls in Region One in beekeeping, so they will also set up their own little bee enterprise. And of course, we know that the mangroves provide the best honey in the country.”

Additionally, she explained, “I want to say clearly that our organization, which is just under 25 years old, could not have achieved all that it did without the invaluable support of the Government of Guyana, as well as the government agencies that we have worked with. I want to give thanks for that and say that I am looking forward to working with them even closer going forward.
“ With the girls and the drone-monitoring of the mangroves, they could provide the information to a lot of the government agencies that would need it in the different regions. For example, the RDC from Region One has asked us in times of flooding, when the farms were destroyed or roads were washed away, if they could have had access to this information, which will help them to manage those natural disasters more efficiently. This proves that the LCDS 2030 is applicable at all levels – nationally and community level too.”

Mrs Martins said that this innovative application being piloted has many broad applications; according to her, the regional authorities have already networked with the girls, and she sees that they have already made use of the technology.
It is also her hope that other agencies, such as the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission, can utilize the services of the National Agricultural Research Extension Institute, to monitor gold mining and enhance agricultural development as well. This, Mrs. Martins said, would also give them the resources to train more girls, which will provide them with more opportunities to become ambassadors of the environment and aim in the fight against climate change.

Finally, Martins said that even though there is a lot more to be done, she is very optimistic that under the competent and genuine leadership of President Ali and Dr Jagdeo, they will implement the necessary measures so that Guyana’s forests and its people will continue to benefit.

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

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