Major breakthrough: Gov’t will access $27B under Norway Forest Agreement

DPI, Guyana, Thursday, July 5, 2018

Guyana is set to benefit from a major breakthrough in the Norway Agreement. Minister of State, Joseph Harmon today announced that the country now has access to close to $27B following fruitful talks in Oslo, Norway.

The State Minister and a delegation including Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman, Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson and Project Manager, Office of Climate Change, Marlon Bristol recently visited Oslo, where they engaged with a Norwegian Ministerial delegation.

Impressed with the Government’s 2025 energy-mix proposal, the country’s deforestation rate of 0.05 – one of the lowest and the role President David Granger has been playing in championing sustainable development, Norway has unlocked billions of dollars under the Norway Forest Agreement.

Minister of State Joseph Harmon, Minister of Natural Resources Raphael Trotman and Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson, along with the Norwegian ministerial team in Oslo, Norway.

These monies will be placed into the Trustee Account for release to Guyana following an urgent trilateral meeting with representatives of Norway, Guyana and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

Minister Harmon, during an interview with the Department of Public Information (DPI), said “they indicated very clearly that the sums of money that was held as a result of the Agreement, that there was 40 Million (US) that we had earned and which had not been transferred to the Trustee Account and they indicated that they were prepared to do that immediately.”

He noted that the amount of US$80Miliion, which was placed in the IDB account and linked to the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project, has been unlocked.

“That’s no longer the case…in fact, they suggested that could be used for the solar development which is going to take place,” Minister Harmon stated.

The sixth payment, which is also due under the agreement totalling approximately US$10.5Million, will also be accessible.

Minister Harmon said Norway’s former Minister of Environment, now Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Erik Solheim played a role in promoting Guyana’s case.

The GYD$27Billion or US$135Million, the State Minister said will be used to transform not only the country but the life of every Guyanese, in a practical way.

“At the level of the ordinary man and woman in Guyana we expect that there is going to be some direct impact and this was one of the things when we came into office we criticised, that we didn’t see the trickling down effect to the lives of the ordinary people,” he noted.

The minister reiterated that the money will not only be spent on capacity building at the higher level but will be used for building sustainable livelihoods by educating citizens on the environment and climate change, what this means and how lifestyle changes can be made.

He added that Norway has also agreed that natural gas may be used in our energy-mix as the country transitions into full renewable energy use.

The Information and Communications Technology (ICT) programme in the Hinterland, payments for the Opt-in mechanism for Indigenous Communities, with respect to forest preservation and management, and funding for renewable energy projects will be catered for under this funding.

By: Stacy Carmichael.