Guyana doing its part to tackle climate change – Foreign Secretary

Climate change has adverse and catastrophic impacts across the world and Guyana continues to play its part in the global fight to mitigate the effects.

This was on Wednesday expressed by Foreign Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Robert Persaud as he addressed the Guyana Youth and Environment Network (GYEN) second book launch titled “Sprouts and the Mystery of the Drought”

Foreign Secretary, Robert Persaud

While highlighting a number of the effects, the Foreign Secretary pointed to the urgent call for action at the global, regional, national and local levels to address root causes and implement innovative solutions.

He noted that the story of the Sprouts and the Mystery of the Drought shines a light on the plight of many communities across Guyana that have been impacted by periods of floods and droughts, resulting in loss to critical livelihoods (such as cattle, crops and access to freshwater) and negative impacts on the economy.

More importantly, this story demonstrates how local and national collective action can lead to practical solutions, he noted.

Mr Persaud said like the Sprouts, Guyana has played a leading role in the fight against climate change for decades.

He noted that, “We in Guyana have been playing a leading role even before many of the develop country and many of other countries…we have been stepping forward in a significant and very innovative ways in dealing with climate change and the record will show that not withstanding the threats that we face, we are proud to say in our country we have our forest cover remain one of the highest in the world in fact it is the second highest percentage across the globe. We have one of the lowest deforestation rates too and that has come about because of a number of policy action we have taken over time.”

Attendees at the book launch

Foreign Secretary Persaud said in 2009, the government launched its first Low Carbon Strategy (LCDS), which created an innovative world-leading model for maintaining forests while receiving payments for ecosystems.

In fact, the Guyana-Norway partnership that came out of that LCDS saw Guyana earning an excess of US$200 million in payment for climate services.

In 2011, the government also passed the Landmark Protected Areas Act and this established a national protected area system, which now accounts for about 8.5 per cent of Guyana’s land area under formal protection.

Mr Persaud said the government’s goal is to “increase this percentage in the coming period to 14 per cent in land and even further including some of our marine space.”

More recently, he noted, the government launched the LCDS 2030, which is an enhanced version of the LCDS 2009, after taking into account a number of local and international developments that focus on investments in clean energy to stimulate low carbon growth, protection against climate change and biodiversity loss.

Additionally, LCDS 2030 works towards a number of goals that focus on achieving net zero by 2050 target including the short-term reduction of 28 per cent by 2030. This is also in an effort to expand the country’s mangroves and ecosystems while improving watershed management and the expansion of the national protected area system. The LCDS 2030, the Foreign Secretary added, is a clear example of how the PPP/C Government intends to protect the biodiversity in Guyana and by extension, the world.