… but funds are still not forthcoming
On Monday last, President Bharrat Jagdeo revealed another draft for his Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS). Two days later he jetted off to Oslo, Norway, where a $4B US fund was signed into existence for the implementation of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) initiatives.
Before President Jagdeo left, he spoke of how the first installment of monies from Norway would be spent.
In fact, he even looked at allocation of the next two years’ worth of funds.
What the President did not address was the fact that the Guyana REDD Implementation Fund (GRIF) has yet to be established.
According to the Joint Concept note signed between Guyana and Norway last November, receipt of the funds from Norway is contingent on the establishment of the GRIF.
The Joint Concept note states “The contributions to Guyana’s REDD-plus/LCDS from Norway and other contributors, including the FCPF, will be administered in a transparent manner. Information concerning all expenditures, both planned and implemented, will be publicly available. The Guyana REDD-plus Investment Fund (GRIF) will be a multi-donor financial mechanism managed by a reputable international organisation. The organisation will be jointly selected by the participants. The GRIF must be operational before any contributions can be disbursed from Norway. The GRIF will channel REDD-plus financial support from Norway and other potential donors to the implementation of Guyana’s LCDS.”
Norway, however, continues to forge ahead with their efforts to curb deforestation globally. On Wednesday last it signed a Letter of Intent with the Government of Indonesia to the tune of $1B. The rationale behind this decision being that Indonesia is home to the third largest spread of rainforest outside of Brazil and the Congo.
The outline of that agreement is similar to the one between the Norwegians and Guyana. There are publicly announced ‘commitments’ of money that will be invested but the country has to meet certain conditions before they can access the funds. The Indonesians must first engage in capacity building and establishing a body with the requisite authority to implement the programme.
Then they must launch a pilot programme whose location is to be jointly decided with Norway. Finally, the country must take the pilot programme national before the funds can start flowing. And they are also required to create a trust for the receipt and disbursement of funds. The US$1B is for a two-year halt to issuance of permits for forest destruction activities as Indonesia seeks to reduce emissions by 26 percent by 2020.
In a similar vein, receipt of any monies by Guyana is also dependent on the country reaching certain benchmarks within a given time frame. According to a report posted on the LCDS website (www.lcds.gov.gy), Guyana met the first set of requirements at the end of 2009. Halfway into 2010, the independent verification required by Norway before the funds are released is still to be done.
In a recent media report, President Jagdeo was quoted as saying, “Once results in reducing carbon emissions are delivered, resources should be provided in a timely manner.” He went on to say that despite having met all of the first year conditions, Guyana is still having “difficulties” accessing the funds.
The report also gave the view of an official in the Norwegian Ministry of the Environment who noted that completion of the enabling activities will need to be independently verified and that any funds disbursed will be dependent on this evaluation. The official further added that the US$30M posited for this year is not a fixed sum.
Meanwhile, the Opposition has also noticed the reluctance of Norway to release the funds in question and they have their own take on the matter. Leader of the Opposition, Robert Corbin said at a press briefing on Friday last that, “We are not impressed with the arrangement which the Government seemed to have tied itself up with for the release of the funds through third party mechanisms … but the truth is that it is understandable why these countries want to behave like that. It is clear that they do not have confidence that the Jagdeo administration would fairly and effectively manage those resources without corruption or discrimination in the way it is utilised. And that is why … all those red tapes have been put in place.”
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