Guiana Shield has much to offer to the world- PM Nagamootoo at ACTO Opening

DPI, Guyana, Thursday, November 2, 2017

Guyana is, for the first time, hosting the 2017 Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO) Traditional Knowledge Meeting.  The Regional Technical Exchange, which is being held under the theme “Community Protocols and Access and Benefit-sharing related to Traditional Knowledge of Indigenous Peoples,” opened this morning at the Princess Ramada Hotel at Providence.

Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, Minister of Foreign Affairs Carl Greenidge, Minister of Indigenous Peoples Affairs, Sydney Allicock and Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples, Valerie Garrido-Lowe and First Lady Sandra Granger at the opening of the ACTO Conference.

Present were Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge, Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Sydney Allicock and Minister within the Ministry, Valerie Garrido-Lowe, Ministers of Public Health, Volda Lawrence, Public Affairs, Dawn Hastings-Williams and in the Ministry of Finance, Jaipaul Sharma and First Lady Sandra Granger.

Prime Minister Nagamootoo, addressing the gathering of representatives from Guyana,                                                                                                                                                                                       Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, Venezuela, Columbia and Suriname, noted that the Guiana Shield has much to offer to the world, “with its pristine forests which harbours some of the more far-reaching medical prescriptions and cures within its biodiversity of animal and plant life.”

“It is worth preserving. It is worth accessing. It is worth sharing. The benefits would be enormous, not only for the region and the members of ACTO, but for the world because, as the palm tree, we are pure, we are pristine, we are sturdy, we are peoples who are destined to be immortalized …. Because of the resources within our grasp that could be a solution to many of the problems in the world, whether it is our way of life, architecture, music, dance, food and our medicine”, the Prime Minister emphasised.

He noted that the indigenous knowledge is worth safeguarding, particularly at a time when the ecosystem and biodiversity are under great threat, and that “our duty becomes that greater; that we preserve and share what we have.”

An Indigenous culture group performing a traditional smoking ceremony.

Guyana’s commitment to a green state and economy is unwavering, added Prime Minister Nagamootoo, as he called on ACTO to include climate change as an element of the ecosystem’s preservation.

He urged the participants to use the forum to develop ideas, and proposals, that will allow them to make an inventory of traditional knowledge, as well as prescriptions to access and share that knowledge.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Carl Greenridge described the meeting as appropriate, noting it correlates with the Government’s commitment to a green economy.

He noted that the final outcome of the meetings should be sufficiently focused on engendering strategic discussion on common strengths and weaknesses of the Amazon countries on the norms, policies and institutions regarding the protection of traditional knowledge on access and benefit sharing. These, he added, were necessary so that the many challenges, needs and opportunities that affect the Amazon region can be effectively addressed.

Meanwhile, Minister Sydney Allicock urged the participants to use the deliberation to find mechanisms through which they can promulgate, preserve and transfer to future generations, the true value of the country’s traditional knowledge.

An Indigenous group performing a song.

“…trust that we can capitalize on some of the opportunities that exist in these countries with respect to the agenda, challenges.  ACTO is both a useful and necessary organisation for driving the many and several regional agendas which touch and concerns our people and transcends borders going to the very heart of the existence of our Indigenous community in particular”, Minister Allicock said.

He proposed that regional projects be crafted with the objective to establish a pool of human resources to document Indigenous languages; record oral tradition stories and other forms traditional knowledge in first languages and official languages; record and publish traditional medicines and healing processes; and create comic books which tell these stories in child friendly forms.

The Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO) regional conference is being held under the theme, ‘Regional Technical Exchange: Community Protocols and Access and Benefit-sharing related to Traditional Knowledge of Indigenous Peoples.’

The objectives of the meeting are to; provide orientation on the international instruments for Traditional Knowledge, Community Protocols and Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS), share information on advancements made on Traditional Knowledge.

 

By: Synieka Thorne

Minister of Indigenous Peoples Affairs, Sydney Allicock during his address.

Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo during his featured address at the opening of the ACTO Conference.

 

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge during his address.

Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo and the Rupertee Cultural group.

 

Some of the participants of the ACTO meeting.

 

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