As Guyana joined the world in observing World Indigenous Peoples’ Day yesterday, Government has inked an agreement for the implementation of the Amerindian Development Fund with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The Amerindian Development Fund will see the creation of sustainable economic ventures providing opportunities in Amerindian communities. It is being made possible through funding under Guyana REDD Investment Fund (GRIF).
The Guyana REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) Investment Fund –GRIF, was established in October 2010 as the mechanism through which Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) projects will be funded.
The agreement was signed by Ministers of Finance and Amerindian Affairs, Dr. Ashni Singh and Pauline Sukhai, respectively, and Resident Representative of UNDP, Khadija Musa.
The signing ceremony took place at the International Conference Centre, where the National Toshaos’ Conference, focusing on Amerindian development, is being held.
According to Sukhai, the further enhancement of Amerindian development is closer to becoming a reality with the signing of this agreement. She assured that the funds, made possible by the Norwegian Government, have been released to Guyana.
Sukhai related that this achievement is vindication for Government and all the leaders who signed onto more than three resolutions, thus far, supporting the LCDS, as a national strategy that could lead Guyana forward into the future.
“I do hope that the chips are now falling for those who continue to feel that it is just an illusion in the air when we spend hours talking about the LCDS,” she noted.
The United Nations Development Fund that is partnering with Government to see the success of the Amerindian Development Fund will be putting together a team to work with indigenous communities.
According to Musa, the team will ensure that the design of the full fledged project and the instrument of disbursements are clearly worked out, transparent and accountable.
She related that over 150 comments were received when the Amerindian Development Fund proposal was posted. They were carefully reviewed and incorporated into the disbursement agreement signed.
The body is looking forward for full participation of all communities. “The beginning of the programme we will use 15 percent of the villages to launch the design of the disbursement methodology and to set up the requirement on the ground so that villages have a management process,” Musa said.
Acknowledging the important contribution of the Kingdom of Norway, Dr. Singh said Norway was the first bilateral country to recognize, so tangibly, the importance of Guyana’s forest. He hailed the country for establishing the partnership with Guyana and delivering on their obligations.
Singh noted that to date Guyana has received US$70M from Norway- the money is being managed by the World Bank and is in a designated bank account- Guyana REDD Investment Trust Fund.
He stated that the LCDS is a strategy built around the recognition that standing forests make an important contribution in the global fight against climate change. Singh pointed out that for centuries Amerindians have been the guardians, custodians and protectors of the forests.
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