By Gary Eleazar
“Wha’ Carbon dem a talk about…me in know what de saying…all I know is that de tell me they gun pay me if I stop burn de bush fuh plant me farm.”
This was the reaction according to one of the resident/farmers in the Kachikamo on the Waini River in Region One when asked about the Low Carbon Development Strategy, clearly demonstrating an unawareness of what the strategy entails.
This was even after the Consultations held with the Amerindian Toshaos who later related what was learnt with their respective communities.
According to one of the Toshaos interviewed, Bony Boyer, who is the leader for the Three Brothers communities (St John, Lower Waini and Katchikamo) said that he was at the consultation but needs to know more about LCDS, given that he was still unclear and was not in a position to say whether the communities under his jurisdiction should opt in.
“At this time we are on a stand still…We don’t fully understand…We need more time to make a suggestion on it.” He did point out however that there has been more consultations promised between now and December but said ever since the commitment he has not been notified of any such meeting but was still optimistic.
“They say that they would come in and do some visits and explain to the people,” said Boyer.
Under the executive summary of the Low Carbon Development Strategy that is being piloted by Guyana for implementation, it states that the country is reaching a new stage in its national development and over the past two decades, the country has re-established a market-led economy within a multi-party democratic system.
It states that the economy has been restructured to support progressively increasing levels of social sector and infrastructural investment alongside private sector-driven economic growth.
“As this first generation of reforms and infrastructural development nears completion, the Government is embarking on a new wave of reforms, coupled with further expansion of the country’s strategic economic infrastructure.”
It is also pointed out that these aim to build on previous reforms to further stimulate investment, economic growth and job creation as well as to improve security and social services, protect vulnerable sections of society, and deal with increased climate change-induced flooding.
It is also pointed out that Guyana’s pristine forests are its most valuable asset in that the majority of the 15 million hectare rainforest is suitable for timber extraction and post-harvest agriculture, and significant mineral deposits exist below its surface.
The value of this forest – known as Economic Value to the Nation or EVN – is estimated to be the equivalent of an annual annuity payment of US$580 million.
However, generating this EVN, while economically rational for Guyana, would have significant negative consequences for the world.
Guyana’s forests suggest that, left standing, can contribute US$40 billion to the global economy each year.
However, no trading markets exist for these environmental services and as a consequence, individuals and companies in rainforest countries face powerful incentives to deforest.
It also states that there is increasing global recognition of the fact that protecting forests is essential to the fight against climate change
Low-Carbon Development Strategy seeks to provide insights on how to stimulate the creation of a low-deforestation, low-carbon, climate-resilient economy.
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