LCDS consultation taken to Region Three – residents urged to be ambassadors of the strategy
Georgetown, GINA, February 14, 2013
The Office of the Climate Change (OCC) continues to convene awareness sessions across the country to inform residents about climate change and the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS). A session was on February 13 conducted with residents of Region Three at the West Demerara Secondary School.
Minister of Agriculture Dr. Leslie Ramsammy, who led the interactive session, noted that Guyana has progressed in its achievement of being on the forefront with regards to acknowledging and implementing measures to address climate change, and global warming. “Guyanese should be extremely proud of the fact that Guyana is one of the few countries that not only talks about climate change, but is also doing something about climate change and is not waiting to see the impact…we stand apart from many countries in being a progressive country with advanced ideas when it comes to climate change,” he said.
He noted that Guyana is one of the few countries in the world to have developed a formal strategy with regards to the issue. “Some people talk about a low carbon strategy, but they have not developed it, Guyana talked about it, and we also developed it, but more importantly, we are implementing it, and we have a whole unit dedicated towards dealing with climate change and towards ensuring the implementation of strategies that would adapt Guyana in terms of our response,” he noted.
Minister of Agriculture Dr. Leslie Ramsammy addresses the gathering at the LCDS outreach at the West Demerara Secondary School, Region Three
Guyana took the forefront whilst other powerful nations such as the United States of America are only now getting on-board. Minister Ramsammy said that recently, the US President, in a State of the Union address said, climate change is real, and, “I am very grateful to President Obama for enlightening America and the most of the world on this issue…this is another reason why we ought to be proud because most of the world is following us,” he said.
The Minister noted that it is not new for Guyana to speak about global warming and climate change as the issue has been spoken of since the time of Former President Cheddi Jagan.
During the session, the Minister sought to bring home the reality of climate change, and in this regard pointed to the unusual and extreme weather conditions being experienced around the world and also here in Guyana. “As we are sitting here, New York City, Washington, Philadelphia, they all have snow for the fourth time in the last two weeks…these are the extremes that we’re facing that persuaded Barack Obama …that climate change is not a possibility, climate change is real and it is here, it is now, and we have experienced it, and we see it every day in our country and in the Caribbean and our world. It is affecting us…we have seen waves that we have never seen before, high tides that we have never seen before… So it is not a possibility, it is already here,” the Minister said.
Pointing to Guyana’s LCDS, the Minister said that the strategy presents another reason Guyanese should be proud. “We are the one of the world’s largest pristine rainforest. Our forest is not only important to us, it is important to the world, whether you live in Africa, India or America or any part of Guyana, Guyana’s forest is important to all of us and that was the brilliance of the Low Carbon Development Strategy,” he said.
“I make that point because there are too many of our own people who think we are receiving a hand out from Norway. Guyana’s position is that we do not have our hands out begging. This is a service we are providing the people around the world, and we should be paid for that service,” he explained.
A participant making a point at the LCDS outreach at the West Demerara Secondary School
The residents, better informed about the issue were asked to become ambassadors for the very proud programme. “You and I, wherever we are in our country, wherever we are in the world, we must be proud to stand up and say that we, Guyana, may not be the reason for climate change, but we are victims of climate change, and we are proud that we have warned the world long before anybody became too conscious about it, and we are proud that not only are we aware, but we are doing something in our country, in our region, in our community and importantly in our homes,” the Agriculture Minister said.
The session was chaired by Regional Chairman Julius Faerber and included a presentation from the Office of Climate Change on climate change, the phenomenon of global warming and the LCDS. Residents were also allowed to make contributions.
On June 8, 2009 former President Bharrat Jagdeo launched the LCDS that outlines Guyana’s vision to promote economic development, while at the same time combating climate change. A revised version was published on May 24, 2010 and subsequently the LCDS update was launched in March 2013 by President Donald Ramotar.
A key part of the LCDS is the involvement of the stakeholders towards the implementation of policies and programmes contained within. Since the launch of the LCDS, there has been intense nationwide consultation and awareness programme to provide information and seek inputs from stakeholders.