Guyana highlights Indigenous rights at Amazonian Conference

GINA, Guyana, Thursday, April 06, 2017

The Government of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana views consultation and dialogue with the Indigenous peoples, civil society and all stakeholders as an integral element of public policy formulation, Ministerial Advisor, Mervyn Williams told the Amazonian Conference on Social Protection.

Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Ministerial Advisor, Mervyn Williams

Williams was part of a delegation that represented Guyana at the Amazonian Conference on Social Protection in Belem, Brazil from March 27 to 31.

The main objective of the conference was to promote the sharing of knowledge and experiences on social protection in the Amazonian context among countries of the region.

Williams said that while Guyana has made advances in promoting mechanisms for social participation, it is cognisant of the current and future challenges that have hindered and which may in the future, hinder the effective participation of all stakeholders.

In Guyana, the Indigenous peoples are the main Amazonian population and are considered very important. Williams described the National Toshaos’ Council as “Guyana’s National Assembly of Indigenous Leaders.”

The NTC promotes national participation in the areas of natural resources management, conservation and providing advice to government on the impact of legislation and national policy among several other areas.

“In this context, the NTC has the right, statutorily, to equitable representation on the Indigenous Peoples’ Commission which is a constitutional Commission.  The NTC also has representation on the Ethnic Relations Commission – another constitutional body – among others.  Further, there exists a significant presence of indigenous peoples in the National Assembly of the Parliament of Guyana. Essentially, therefore, the channels and/or platforms for national representation and dialogue are many and varied,” Williams told the conference.

Williams told the conference that the NTC utilises the opportunity to constructively engage the government, including the President, Prime Minister and all government ministers, non-governmental organisations, the military and civilian law enforcement agencies, the diplomatic Corps, and the international financial institutions.

Williams pointed out that sustainable economic development in the context of the village economy is a critical element in the implementation of social protection policies for the Amazonian population of Guyana. As such, the government has formulated plans, programmes and policies aimed at taking opportunities for sustainable developmental to the villages and communities. These projects, take into account the sustainable development goals which among other things, target the eradication of all forms of poverty by 2030.

The seminar was organized by the Ministry of Social and Agrarian Development (MDSA), in partnership with the World Bank and UNESCO, with the support of the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ), the Brazil Learning Initiative for a World without Poverty (WWP), the Brazilian Navy, the Secretariat for Social Assistance, Labour, Employment and Income of the State of Pará and Belém, Barcarena and Acará Municipalities.

Guyana was one of nine countries which participated in the event. Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela were the other countries.


By: Synieka Thorne


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