LCDS moves closer to reality

Over the next three months, Guyana would begin to take steps to make the implementation of the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) “a real possibility,” President Bharrat Jagdeo said on Thursday.

He told the gathering at the opening of GuyExpo 2009 that the process will present new opportunities for the economy to grow and prosper and for new forms of partnership in new sectors to take Guyana forward. The President disclosed that in two months, further details regarding Guyana’s cooperation with Norway to provide the world with a working model for REDD will be announced. Jagdeo explained that this is a mechanism through which international payments for avoiding forestation is likely to be integrated into a global climate deal after Copenhagen. Guyana will hopefully start to receive payments for the climate services the forest provides based on performances shortly after this, he noted.

Jagdeo also announced plans to publish an upgraded version of the LCDS based on the recently concluded three months of national consultations.

“This will further develop the ideas we set out in the initial draft on how we can use forest payments to shift our entire economy on to a low carbon trajectory and the upgraded document will incorporate the many excellent ideas suggested by individuals, organizations and companies across the country,” the President said.

Further, he underscored the importance of the international climate negotiations at Copenhagen, which will take place in early December, which he said, will set the parameters for how progress might be made in building a new global economy in the future. Noting that the negotiations are frequently torturous, he declared that Guyanese can feel proud of the role of the country’s team in furthering the REDD and low carbon development agendas as well as international recognition the country gets for these efforts. Guyana will not be found lacking in run-up to Copenhagen, he asserted.

Meantime, the President said that Guyana’s forest will start to be valued for the climate services they provide and this will lead to a “steady build up significant payments” which will be used to accelerate national development. He pointed out that this would include supporting the move to renewable energy, opening up non-forested parts of the country to agriculture, among others.

He also addressed the issue of funds received from climate services. “We have always made clear that forest payments will not be administered by my office,” he stated.

“The investment fund will be set up under the full oversight of the national assembly with the involvement of one of the international financial institutions mostly likely the World Bank”, said Jagdeo.

He asserted that all funds will be audited and an annual report will transparently lay out for all to see how the REDD funds are being invested.

“It will take some time for this new economy to take root and there will be setbacks along the way but those companies that identify and seize the opportunities to participate now will prosper in the years ahead as they work out two things: one, how can they develop low carbon products and services in Guyana; and two, how can they benefit as our national development is accelerated using the new resources that our forest can generate for the country,” he added.

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