Guyana committed to land, environmental patrimony – Minister Joseph Harmon

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DPI, Guyana, Monday, January 28, 2019

Minister of State Joseph Harmon today said Guyana is fully committed to the protection and conservation of its national patrimony including its land resources.

He was at the time addressing the opening of the seventeenth session of the Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC 17) to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) the Arthur Chung Convention Centre (ACCC) this morning.

According to Minister Harmon, Guyana’s conviction of the necessity for environmental protection has inspired the establishment of a Green State Development Strategy, a twenty-year development strategy that reflects the guiding visions and principles of a green state.

“Guyana finds itself in a position of great strategic importance with regard to the climatic well being of the planet. Our pristine rainforest is crucial to the carbon cleanup of the earth’s atmosphere,” he told the conference. He said evidence of the importance of Guyana’s role as a partner in the global environmental movement, can be seen in the many agreements entered into with countries such as the Kingdom of Norway, the Netherlands, Germany and Japan as well as international organizations such as conservation international for the conservation of the forests.

“We, therefore, have a deep appreciation for our unique position and the crucial nature of our responsibility to the preservation of our land cover and the protection of our environment.”

According to Minister Harmon, Guyana aspires to be a success story in the implementation of the UNCCD as it continues to meet all technical and financial obligations. He said Guyana is especially proud of its recent accession to the position of Vice President of the Conference of the Parties Bureau, as well as the holding of CRIC 17. The Minister of State said Guyana is deeply conscious that the land is a link between people and the environment, and connects economic, social, cultural and geographic spheres.

Addressing the conference too was Executive Secretary of the UNCCD Monique Barbut. She said the possibility of achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals is well within reach.

According to Barbut, some 169 parties are affected by drought and land degradation, however, data has shown that those parties are committed to tackling all the challenges associated with drought and land degradation.

CRIC17 will review the first global assessment of land degradation based on Earth observation data reported by governments. The assessment shows the trends in land degradation between 2000 to 2015 based on data provided by 145 of the 197 countries that are party to the convention.

The assessment is expected to provide the baseline for assessing progress in the reduction or reversal of land degradation globally, going forward. It will also contribute to country efforts to achieve land degradation neutrality (LDN), which is Sustainable Development Goal target 15.3.

It will also conduct interactive dialogues on the gender action plan as a tool to improve the living conditions of the people affected by land degradation; new and innovative sources to finance initiatives to combat land degradation; and the progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goal target on land degradation neutrality, for which the Convention plays a lead role.

Alexis Rodney.

Images: Keno George.