Oct 26, 2015 News
…as World Bank rejects latest project – Dr. Janette Bulkan
Guyana continues to be unable to fully utilize the money it has earned under the forest pact with the Kingdom of Norway and at least one local forestry expert is contending that a major problem is that the Government’s Office of Climate Change (OCC) appears unable to prepare fundable project proposals from the ‘ragbag of sketchy ideas’ in the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS).
This is the view held by Dr Janette Bulkan, who recently weighed in on some of the challenges facing the country in relation to accessing the funding made available by Norway and offered critique of the LCDS and its OCC, one of the initiatives spearheaded by former President Bharrat Jagdeo.
According to Dr Bulkan, US$69.8M has passed from Oslo, Norway, to the World Bank-administered Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund, and only about half of this money is included in projects submitted by the OCC.
She observed that the Ministry of Finance in Oslo has blocked further transfers to the GRIF because Guyana is not spending according to Norwegian aid rules.
According to Dr Bulkan, earlier this month, the World Bank-coordinated Carbon Fund rejected the Emission Reduction – Programme Idea Note (ER-PIN) submitted by Guyana for access to the Carbon Fund project pipeline.
The rejection, she surmised, was partly because of the very poor and incomplete nature of the proposal, and failures to comply with the Carbon Fund’s methodological framework.
“In addition, and perhaps the major reason for rejection, was the ER-PIN suggestion of inflating the carbon emission reference level to three times the baseline level, and then claiming credits for the ‘hot air’ between the assessed emission levels and that reference level,” said Dr Bulkan.
Guyana, she said, has made no policy changes to support or encourage reductions in emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and the only documented but still underhand change in procedure has been to further facilitate smash-and-grab logging.
She explained that this practice refers to the relaxation in the inter-stump distance rule, from 10 to 8 metres, to facilitate the taking of high-value small trees from ‘reefs’ of greenheart and purpleheart.
The Guyana Forestry Commission, she said, has not explained how this destructive relaxation is compatible with its claims to sustainable forest management.
She said too that there are several other problems with the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) and the ER-PIN submitted recently by Guyana to international meetings.
As such, Dr Bulkan said it is regrettable that the National Assembly’s sectoral committee on natural resources has not yet convened in this 11th session of the Assembly, and has not scrutinised these fraudulent claims which are detrimental to the reputation of Guyana.
It was noted too that outside the Memorandum of Understanding with Norway along with the GRIF mechanism, that country has been passing money through a German aid organization and through Conservation International.
Bulkan lamented, however, that there are no audit reports in the public domain on how these funds have been spent.
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