135 Amerindian villages submit plans to access funds from sale of carbon credits – NTC Chair

Some 135 Amerindian communities have submitted the outlines of their Village Sustainability Plans (VSPs) to the National Toshaos’ Council (NTC), as part of the process of accessing their respective allocation from the $4.6 billion (US$22 million) earned from the sale of Guyana’s carbon credits.

Communities including Kamarang, Orealla, Karrau, Moraikobai, and Bethany, among others are on the submission list, after which the document will be endorsed by the council and then forwarded to the government for approval.

NTC Chairman, Derrick John made the disclosure during an interview with the Department of Public Information (DPI) on Friday.

Amerindian leaders are required to consult with their communities to arrive at a consensus concerning their village development plan before they can access the monies, allowing for accountability and transparency regarding how the funds will be expended.

Each community has already created separate bank accounts, where the funds will be deposited.

Chairman of the National Toshaos Council (NTC), Derrick John speaking with DPI on Friday

“We play two roles, we help them [and] we guide them because at the end of the day, it’s a community that has to develop their own plans, so we give them that technical support but the ideas have to come from the villages themselves,” the chairman pointed out.

The villages have outlined several priority areas and, “It varies from village to village because some communities focus on eco-tourism, smart agriculture, some focus on infrastructure, so it varies from village to village,” John told DPI.

He explained that once the council receives a request for assistance from village leaders, technical support is provided in developing the plans.

Over 240 Amerindian communities across Guyana will be receiving up to $35 million and no less than $10 million depending on its population size.

This follows the historic agreement signed with Hess Corporation for Guyana’s carbon credits in 2022 that will see the country earning US$750 million for its forest, of which 15 per cent will go towards Amerindian development.

It must be noted that this dedicated 15 per cent is not all that the Amerindian communities will benefit from.

In fact, these parties will be direct beneficiaries of all aspects of the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) 2030, from renewable energy and climate adaptation and mitigation projects. From consultations with residents, the government will deliver support through a new phase of the Amerindian Development Fund (ADF); support for participation in reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) and ART-TREES; as well as the completion of the land titling programme.

Amerindian communities are also benefitting from presidential grants totalling up to $1.2 million to pursue sustainable community projects.

In 2023, the government through the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs in its national budget earmarked $4.7 billion towards advancing development and improving the livelihoods of Indigenous people.