Global coalition needed to address energy, food security, climate change − President Ali

His Excellency, Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali has called for the formation of a new global coalition to address the urgent issues of climate change, food security, and energy security.

President Ali, was at the time delivering the feature address at the second International Energy Conference and Expo, being hosted at the Guyana Marriott Hotel in Kingston, Georgetown.

His Excellency, Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali addressing the opening the International Energy Conference and Expo at the Marriott Hotel, Georgetown

He highlighted the interdependence of these challenges and emphasised the importance of engaging all stakeholders to find effective solutions.

“We cannot confront these challenges in isolation of the actors within the challenge themselves. So, how is it that we can lead a new world effort in building a coalition that addresses these challenges that the world we live in is facing and will face in a more severe manner,” President Ali said to the audience.

The president’s call to action comes at a critical time, as the world faces increasing threats from the impacts of climate change, including extreme weather events, rising sea levels, and loss of biodiversity. Food and energy security have also become pressing concerns as populations grow.

President Ali stressed the importance of avoiding self-righteousness when addressing these issues.

Speaking from the perspective of an oil-producing country, he noted that Guyana will continue to extract natural resources in a responsible manner to promote development and prosperity for all its citizens.

“I also speak from a country that has one of the best environmental credentials in the world. It’s not by accident that we have this credential. It is part of what we have been naturally blessed with,” he added.

Guyana’s forest is over 18 million hectares and stores over 21 gigatons of carbon, President Ali reminded. He said the country’s carbon forest is US$162 billion.

His Excellency, Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali seated at the opening the International Energy Conference and Expo at the Marriott Hotel, Georgetown; Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr Keith Rowley and Prime Minister of Guyana, Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips are also pictured

President Ali highlighted the value of voluntary carbon markets globally is nearly US$2 billion, with around 500 million carbon credits.

Guyana has a value of $US750 million in a signed agreement for the next ten years.

“That is 40 per cent of what the world has in signing agreements, what do we do as a country? I say, we celebrate this accomplishment because this is visionary, proactive, sustainable and catalyses the value of our natural resources,” he underscored.

The president added that the government initially created a Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) to earn revenue and promote sustainable development through investments.

Upon returning to office in 2020, the strategy was updated to LDCS-2030 to reflect current circumstances and now plays a significant role in the country’s development platform.

We know what the LCDS is capable of… the LCDS is a demonstration of a practical document and Guyana’s position is to make the LCDS a model for sustainable development,” the head of state asserted.

One of the innovative initiatives that Guyana is currently implementing is a forest payment scheme that enables countries or companies to pay for a tradable permit called carbon credits.

Recently, Hess Corporation committed to pay US$750 million to Guyana as part of a special carbon credits scheme that incentivises forest conservation. Some 15 per cent of the revenue generated will be allocated to Guyana’s indigenous communities.

President Ali announced that the initial payment will be distributed to the Toshaos on Wednesday, demonstrating the government’s commitment to empowering and supporting Amerindian communities.

Notably, he said Guyana is keen on harnessing its oil wealth to diversify the economy.

A section of the gathering at the opening of the International Energy Conference and Expo

Already, the country is pursuing a Gas-to-Energy project, which is expected to cut electricity costs by more than half.

The Conference and Expo are being held under the theme ‘Harnessing Energy for Development’ from February 14-17. It brings together policymakers, academics, industry professionals, and entrepreneurs from around the world, as well as global energy leaders in sustainable development.

Former President of Colombia, Ivan Duque, President of the Republic of Suriname, Chandrikapersad Santokhi, Prime Minister of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago Keith Rowley, and Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Ralph E. Gonsalves also addressed the forum. Ministers of government, members of the diplomatic corps and the private sector were also in attendance.