The appropriation by government of Norwegian aid money is worse than is portrayed in your article ‘New Norway gov’t likely to continue climate policy’ (SN, September 24, derived from the subscription-only Norwegian magazine Development Today and Chris Lang’s summary ‘Almost half of Norway’s climate and forest aid remain unspent’ in http://www.redd-monitor.org/2013/09/20/almost-half-of-norways-climate-and-forest-aid-remains-unspent/ ). Norwegian money assigned to the GRIF trust fund administered by the World Bank totals US$115 million, as you report. It is the inability or sloth of the agencies and offices of the Government of Guyana in failing to prepare fundable project proposals derived from the Jagdeo sketches in his Low Carbon Development Strategy (2009-2013) which is largely responsible for the non-deposit of more than US$69 million. Only US$14 million of those US$69 million have been released to the delivery partners ‒ InterAmerican Development Bank and UNDP ‒ and then onwards to the government agencies. Almost all of those US$14 million have disappeared into the unaudited accounts of the Office of the President, Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC), Small Business Bureau, and Ministry of Amerindian Affairs (MOAA). Only US$378,000 have reached 22 of the initial 27 Amerindian communities selected by the MoAA, that is, 0.3 per cent of the Norwegian aid money allocated to Guyana. Meanwhile, US$1.2 million of that same tranche for the Amerindian Development Fund have been retained by UNDP or by MoAA itself.
Most of the US$14 million has been allocated for ‘institutional strengthening’ or ‘capacity building’ but this has not resulted in the presentation of more of the ex-LCDS proposals. A small portion of this money has been spent by the GFC on ‘monitoring, reporting and verification’ of the areas of forest/non-forest.
What has happened to the remainder? Is Guyana so rich in remittances and laundered drug money and the proceeds of gun running and people trafficking that it does not want the outstanding US$101 million from Norway?