EU’s budget support programme to help fortify Guyana’s sea defence

Guyana on Tuesday received $1.78 billion or €7.56 million from the European Union (EU), the last disbursement from union’s budget support programme.

President, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, who made the announcement during a joint press conference at the Office of the President, said a large part of the funding will go towards strengthening Guyana’s sea defence. President Ali said the EU has been Guyana largest provider of grant resources over the years.

President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali

President Ali said the support the EU has given Guyana, rebuilt its fragile sea and river defence. He said the Guyana shore zone management programme targeted the reconstruction of several of Guyana’s sea defence systems along the coast to protect low-lying areas, which are prone to flooding during hide-tide.

“As a result of this intervention, thousands of acres of agricultural lands under cultivation are protected from the intrusion of the sea. In addition, residents of these low-lying areas also suffer great losses of their crops and livestock, as well as extensive damage to their homes.

These resources that are being provided today, will greatly assist in improving the lives of the people of Guyana, and will help to offset the expenditure that has been incurred in our relentless struggle to defend our coastal zone from the intrusion of the aggressive Atlantic Ocean,” the Head of State said.

President Ali pointed out that Guyana is pursuing an aggressive transformational agenda that requires large amount of capital. These areas include infrastructure, clean and renewable energy, agriculture, information technology and the provision of state-of-the-art social services.

“The government is currently developing new lands for housing to provide homes for low-income earners and young professionals. In all of this, we are constantly reminded of the severity of climate change and its impending impact on our vulnerable population and sea defences,” President Alihighlighted.

EU Ambassador to Guyana Fernando Ponz Cantó

EU’s Ambassador to Guyana, Fernando Ponz Cantó, said the release of the money is a display of trust the EU has in Guyana to effectively manage the money. He also highlighted that Guyana has shown proof of the works the money will go towards.

“Those works consist mainly of the sea defences of Guyana. Guyana the beautiful land of many waters sometimes has too many waters, and we know how important it is for you to be protected also in the context of climate change. It is a contribution from the European Union so that the country can adapt itself better to the changing patterns of weather and climate change.  It is also a contribution to improve the infrastructure of the country,” the EU Ambassador said.

He said over the years, Guyana has managed to build and rehabilitated over 20 kilometres of sea defences. This is added to maintaining more than 60 kilometres of sea defences and the planting of six new mangrove sites that protect the coastland from the rising sea levels.