The Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission (GLSC) is preparing a National Land Policy in an attempt to set a broad macro-level framework for guiding land-related decisions for the country, Commissioner Trevor Benn has announced.
The National Land Policy is one of three main new policy initiatives being undertaken by the Commission, Benn indicated at an end-of-year press conference on Tuesday. According to him, the policy is currently engaging the attention of the Commission and will continue next year.
“The National Land Policy will set a broad macro-level policy framework for guiding land-related decisions for Guyana,” Benn noted, while adding that the GLSC has also commenced work on the revision of the National Geographic Information System (GIS) Policy and there is ongoing work to revise the Land Surveyors (Profession) Act, which is expected to be taken to Parliament in 2018.
Elaborating on some of the other accomplishments in 2017, Benn noted that the Commission was able to revise its application forms and now has various forms for different companies and agencies.
The Commission also worked on developing compiled plans for various areas such as Great Diamond, Houston, Herstelling, Eccles to Peters Hall and Farm to Covent Garden.
Additionally preparatory work has started on the establishment of a National Hydrographic Coordinating Committee (NHCC) to strengthen and improve the delivery of hydrographic surveying services throughout Guyana. Efforts are also being made to develop a Hydrographic Unit internally. The GLSC has also started work on improving the National Geodetic Network, which will result in the refurbishing and expansion of the Continuous Operating Reference Stations Network (CORSnet), which Benn said has never been operational in the country. This, he said, will assist greatly in providing more precise GPS [Global Positioning System] readings that will be used to demarcate areas with greater efficiency.
Benn also highlighted that the Commission received a grant of US$14.8 million from the Government of Norway under the Guyana REDD+ Investment Funds (GRIF). These funds will be for the Sustainable Land Development and Management (SLDM) mainstreamed in policy, institutional and governance mechanisms to prevent degradation and restore degraded lands. The money will also be used to strengthen institutional and human capacity for participatory and integrated sustainable land development and management and for local governance strengthening in three regions as part of the SLDM.
Benn also indicated that the first time in the history of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), Guyana tabled on behalf of the Caribbean, a major decision on Capacity Building that was unanimously passed at the 13th session of the Conference of Parties (COP13) held in Ordos, China.
He noted that during the COP13, he was elected as Vice President of the COP Bureau, making history as the first Caribbean person to receive such status.
During the COP, Guyana was also selected to Chair the Contact Group of the Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC).
“This the first time that Guyana and the Caribbean have received the level of recognition and support by the Convention. COP13 was extremely successful for Guyana and the Caribbean as a whole. Great steps were made, which won Guyana and the Caribbean the admiration, respect and trust of many others delegations,” Benn noted. Apart from Benn, Guyana’s delegation at this forum comprised Communities Minister Ronald Bulkan and GLSC Board chair Paulette Henry.
Benn also added that in January 2019, Guyana is expected to host the 17th meeting of the CRIC which is expected to attract over 450 persons from 100 countries.
He also added that the Commission has been working jointly with Brazil to re-locate, refurbish and re-observe border marks between the two countries. This initiative is set to continue, he added.