Timing of consultations on Green State Development Strategy suspect

Dear Editor,

I have noticed a recent release from the government announcing “Hinterland Consultations on the Green State Development Strategy starts this week”. The release stated that team experts from the GoG’s Department of Environment and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) with the assistance of the World Wildlife Fund Guianas ( WWF) will be holding meetings in Regions 1, 2, 7, 8, 9, and 10 between August 16 -September 12, 2018. The schedule of meetings was listed.

It is interesting when one examines the schedule of meetings that firstly, three townships and one NDC which are not in the interior were included while certain interior locations were omitted; secondly, the planners of these meetings seem to be unfamiliar with the geography of Guyana as meetings are not being coordinated to ensure efficient use of time and money incurred in holding these consultations.

However, most interesting is that 8 of the 15 identified communities will be going to the polls on November 12, 2018. One wonders if the UNEP and the WWF are aware that these meetings will be part of the government’s election campaign strategy for the Local Government Elections.

From the media, I am aware that the UNEP has been assisting the government since July 2017 on the Framework of the Green State Development Strategy (GSDS) and Financing Mechanism; l am aware that there is a Green State Development Multi-Stakeholder Expert Group although the members of this body have not been made public; l am aware that the GSDS, much touted by the Government for the last 3 years, is still to be developed and that US$1.5 M of REDD+ monies are funding the completion of the GSDS. 

I am also aware that not one Government Minister in the National Assembly or in the media has been able to articulate the government’s vision of what the GSDS will contain for Guyana and its people. In fact, ask any Minister what is the GSDS and one gets a lot of “hot air” and generalities, worse yet, ask the how the GSDS will mesh with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their eyes gloss over.

Having abandoned the Low Carbon Development Strategy of the PPP/C government which had gone through rigorous consultations and dialogue in every interior community and coastal area over a two-year period and was brought to the National Assembly and debated, the government has failed to hold any consultations over the last three years at the community level on their Green State Development Strategy. 

So the readers must forgive me for being cynical that the timing of these consultations on the GSDS is conveniently coinciding with the upcoming LGE on November 12th to allow the government to use these consultations to do the PNCR’s election work.

Do the UNEP and the WWF wish to be part of this subterfuge? I certainly hope not.

Yours faithfully,

Gail Teixeira, MP

 

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