Jun 29, 2014 News
The Amaila Falls Hydro Project was poised to receive the bulk of the fourth tranche under its forest protection agreement
with the Kingdom of Norway.
However, since the project is suffering a “temporary setback” President Donald Ramotar says that government may have to explore other avenues in order to access the fund from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
Ramotar was at the time addressing a media conference at State House.
Since the agreement is on the basis of forest protection, Ramotar was asked to comment on how closely the forest is being monitored, considering large scale mining operations and the fact that a Chinese company has even expressed interest in large scale logging.
The President assured that the forest is monitored very closely and that efforts are being made to conduct studies that would further assist small scale miners on soil types and other protective measures that can be taken.
To show its commitment to this, Government will help small scale miners in this regard but large scale miners would be on their own, said President Ramotar.
The Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) sets out Guyana’s approach to transition to a green economy. Its aims to combat climate change while simultaneously providing economic growth and development.
It sets out how Guyana’s economy can be realigned along a low carbon development path by investing payments received for avoided deforestation into strategic low carbon sectors.
On November 9, 2009, Guyana and Norway entered into a Memorandum of Understanding to foster cooperation on issues related to the fight against climate change.
The Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF) is the fund for the financing of activities identified under the LCDS. The Government of Norway has committed to provide up to US$250 million to the Fund by 2015.
Under the agreement with Norway, the World Bank will be the Trustee of GRIF. It will receive the money from Norway and transfer this money to the Partner Entities when a request is made.
The Partner Entities are the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank. (Not the Government of Guyana).
The Partner Entities carry out the projects that are requested by Guyana and approved by the Steering Committee that is made up of representatives from Norway and Guyana.
Payment from the Fund is the sole responsibility of the Steering Committee and the Partner Entity. Payments will only be approved when the Steering Committee (including Norway) is satisfied that the projects meet the eligibility criteria.
Guyana has already earned US$115M in three consecutive payments. Since then, the monies released have been utilized to support the implementation of several projects under the LCDS, including the Micro and Small Enterprise Project, Amerindian Development Fund and the strengthening of key institutions.
Guyana has not received the fourth tranche.
“US$80M would have been paid if we had Amaila going and that was part of that money. Some of it will be going to Amerindian development fund. The big amount that we want would have gone to Amaila. We have to look at other projects too to put some of these monies in and there are some that I have in mind,” President Ramotar said.
He reminded that the money under the Norway agreement is going directly to projects. “That’s how we get the money that is the process. No money is coming directly to us. The money goes from Norway to the IDB and is released to Guyana to fund projects.”
When asked to explain why the release of the fund is taking so long, the President said, “Well that’s one of the frustrations we face. One time we had argued about it and we had agreed on the Amaila Falls Project but we have a temporary hold up. More discussions will occur when the US General Assembly meets.”
Norway had claimed that with regard to the Amaila Falls Hydro Project which is listed under the Low Carbon Development Strategy, funds will only be submitted once Guyana and the IDB have complied with all their requirements.
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