NORAD report on Guyana-Norway forest pact a ‘telling blow’ to the government, says Ramjattan
Leader of the AFC Khemraj Ramjattan says that the Norwegian Agency for Development Coopera-tion’s (NORAD) recent report on the Guyana-Norway forest protection pact is a “telling blow” to the government and exposes what many have been saying all along.
Ramjattan told Stabroek News that he has been in contact with Norwegian officials who are “very disappointed” with Guyana’s efforts in protecting the forest. Ramjattan said that the report does not come as a surprise and pointed out that he has said before that the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) was built on a platform of “intellectual dishonesty” and it was a “scramble” by former president Bharrat Jagdeo “to get money out of Norway more than anything else.”
NORAD, which is the Norwegian government agency through which funds are channelled to Guyana for protecting its forests, in its report on the partnership between Guyana and Norway released last week, described the LCDS as being a “stand-alone more-or-less ad hoc collection of projects.” NORAD has also pointed out that despite the LCDS, the Government of Guyana is still maintaining a high carbon development path.
The agency said too that insufficient action has been taken to reduce the mining operations that are the main cause of deforestation here and confirmed that Guyana will lose US$20 million as a result of increased deforestation in Year 3 (2012) of the Guyana-Norway forest protection partnership.
NORAD is a directorate under the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and since 2010, it has been monitoring Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI), the programme under which Guyana is paid to protect its forest. Guyana and Norway in 2009 inked a REDD+ partnership under which Oslo will pay for Guyana’s performance on limiting greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and for progress made against governance-related indicators. REDD+ is a global initiative that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. Norway’s payments to Guyana may amount to approximately US$250 million over the period to 2015, depending on Guyana’s performance.
“There was no genuine intentions to cut emissions,” Ramjattan told Stabroek News saying that Jagdeo had engineered the scheme “just to get money” from Norway. “They were never genuinely about low carbon… hardly anything in Guyana is low carbon,” he said.
The AFC leader stated that the NORAD report is very useful and he is happy that the agency has published it. Ramjattan said that the opposition political parties have been speaking on these issues but would have been accused of politicising the matter.