May 25, 2010 News
… Revised LCDS launched
By Leonard Gildarie
Guyana continues to eye the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) as a means to a successful economy. Yesterday saw the launching of a revised document that unveiled a comprehensive plan to improve the country’s fortunes over the next few years.
The launching, at the Umana Yana, Kingston, has come days before President Bharrat Jagdeo is due to visit Norway, European Union, to sign a major agreement that will see Guyana and a number of other countries benefiting from a historic US$5B climate change fund.
Speaking to a gathering of diplomats, stakeholders and Cabinet members, Jagdeo announced that LCDS has now taken a new dimension with the consultation period over and an implementation mode now in gear.
Significantly yesterday, 10 major organisations, part of the Multi-Stakeholders Steering Committee (MSSC), among them the Private Sector Commission and the National Toshaos Council, endorsed the plans adopted in the revised LCDS.
The Head of State noted that while the Copenhagen forum late last year had failed to come up with a workable agreement, Guyana and a number of other countries had continued to work and as a result, in the coming days a major commitment was made to release billions of dollars that would further protect Guyana ‘s forest.
Already, following an historic US$250M agreement that will see performance-based funds coming from Norway, Guyana has moved to implement measures.
The revised LCDS will not only detail plans for 2010 and 2011, but will guide the way forward for the country’s economy in the coming years.
For the next two years, the President disclosed, the revised LCDS has listed an eight-point strategy which will see up to US$111M being invested.
In addition to investing in the Amaila Falls hydro-project, US$6M will be allocated to accelerate the demarcation and titling programme for Amerindians.
Another US$8M will be made available to establish an Amerindian Development Fund, even if no village chooses to be part of the LCDS process. This fund, according to Jagdeo, can be used to develop Amerindian village projects which include aquaculture, cattle rearing and ecotourism.
As much as US$11M could also be used in the next two years to further develop the country’s Information and Communications Technology infrastructure.
Already, the government has committed to bringing a fibre optic cable from Brazil to Georgetown to develop an e-government network. In phases, the LCDS says that after the cable would have been laid, the services will be expanded into a wireless broadband network to remove the digital divide which has been stifling the rural communities.
A key area being targeted by the LCDS for development is the creation of opportunities that will see further growth in small and micro enterprises. These include fruits and vegetables, model mining and aquaculture.
It will also see the development of a Low Carbon Small and Micro Enterprise Mutual Guarantee Fund. As much as US$8M will be earmarked in this area for the next two years, it was revealed.
President Jagdeo also said that talks have started with the University of Guyana to develop an International Center for Bio-Diversity, which among other things can provide a huge resource center with international agencies.
The revised LCDS noted that the country’s rainforest has the potential to provide sources for 25 per cent of today’s medicines, a drug market of close to US$100B.
An estimated US$4M in this area will also target the education system with the Ministry of Education becoming involved this year in the process.
It will also include a project of making available one laptop computer per family as part of the country’s IT development drive.
Additionally, the Office of Climate Change, which will be co-ordinating the LCDS will be strengthened along with the Low Carbon Project Management Office and a number of other agencies including the Environmental Protection Agency.
According to President Jagdeo, the LCDS will again be laid in the National Assembly as Guyana moves more towards implementation. He was convinced that process will continue to be open and transparent.
With Guyana and other like-minded countries aiming toward US$100B in forest protection funding by 2020, the President yesterday called for all Guyanese to put their hands to the wheel and while the going may be slow, it is the only way.
Also present at the launch were the Guyanese Organisation of Indigenous Peoples, the National Amerindian Development Foundation, the Amerindian Action Movement of Guyana, the International Institute for Environment and Development, Conservation International, the World Wildlife Fund, and the Federation of Independent Trade Unions in Guyana.
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