Guyana’s commitment to sustainable development unshakeable – President Ali

– tells CSIS that country can be a world leader on climate change and food security

His Excellency President Irfaan Ali today reiterated Guyana’s commitment to fighting climate change and developing sustainably.

The President also highlighted the country’s potential in becoming a world leader in key sectors such as the environment, agriculture and technology.

He made the statements during a discussion called, ‘Strengthening the Guyana-US Relationship’ organised by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Americas.

“Our commitment to climate change and development, sustainable development, is unshakable.”

The President reminded that over 80% of Guyana is covered by forests that is larger than the size of England. This large forest cover, he explained, currently stores more than 19 gigatonnes of carbon and is attached to a value of more than US$500bn.

“So I present to you a country that is enormously rich in biodiversity, ecological services, environmental services.”

He said that climate change cannot be dealt with in a “transactional way” but must be dealt with through global policy formation that is supported by all.

“There needs to be a balanced conversation, a conversation that understands the reality of the world. Because guess what, when supply becomes low, and demand continues to increase, prices are affected, and the most affected continues to be the developing world. So this conversation cannot take place without the balance.”

This balance, the President outlined, is highlighted by Guyana as an oil-producing nation.

“And I want to present Guyana as a perfect example of a country and a policymaking environment that is seeking to achieve that balance in our development trajectory, and our commitment to climate change. We are a net zero country, we have among the lowest deforestation rate in the world at 0.05%. “We have a forest that goes through all the rigid global audits, and we are not going to change that.”

President Ali pointed out that Guyana’s development is structured in a Low Carbon Development Strategy that looks at the enhancement and prosperity of livelihood, the development of the infrastructure and the human resources and the transformation of the country as an important part of the Environmental Modelling.

“As we move forward with our oil and gas sector, we are simultaneously moving forward and advancing our forests as a tool to combat climate change. And we are now moving to a Low Carbon Development Strategy 2030 that expands itself beyond the forests to the ocean and the blue economy.”

FOOD SECURITY AND TECHNOLOGY

President Ali also noted that Guyana has the potential to become a leader in food security and agriculture technology.

“Guyana has rich freshwater resources. We have abundant freshwater, large-scale arable lands, we are well positioned to be the food basket of CARICOM.  For a matter of fact, in the early days of the development of CARICOM, Guyana was referred to as the food basket of CARICOM.”

He reminded that the regional bloc, being led by Guyana, is working aggressively on a plan to reduce its food import bill by 25% by 2025.

 “We have the potential to become a leader also in climate change, food security, transport and logistics.”

The President also noted that Guyana’s geographic position of being in South America allows economic access to Brazil and other countries on the continent.  Additionally, he spoke of the country’s plans to revolutionise its health and education sectors and not only make them world class, but global hubs.

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