Private sector must play a more critical role in climate change mitigation – Minister Harmon at closing of NAMA training

Georgetown, Guyana – (September 9, 2016)

Minister of State, Mr. Joseph Harmon, today, called on the private sector to play a more critical role in mitigation efforts as the world continues to grapple with the climate change and global warming phenomena.

The Minister, who was at the time addressing participants at the closing of the Japan-Caribbean Climate Change Partnership Capacity Building Training Seminar of the Development and Implementation of Nationally Appropriate Climate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs), which was held at the Marriott Hotel, said that the private sector must be a strong leader in these efforts, even as it is Government’s responsibility to play a coordinating role.

dsc_0118“This NAMA has come as the Government of Guyana seeks to translate the President’s vision of a ‘green’ economy into clear, realistic strategies, plans and actions for implementation. This will, of course, require wide stakeholder participation and engagements beyond government ministries and agencies if we are to successfully achieve the status of a ‘green’ state. Your continued involvement and participation throughout the process is demonstrative evidence of this commitment by all of you. Climate mitigation actions require strong leadership of the private sector beyond management of your own climate exposure. This can be done, of course, through climate proofing, private sector investments towards providing solutions through emerging business opportunities and helping others to reduce their climate risks and supporting Government‘s mitigation policies,” Minister Harmon said.

The Minister of State noted that seminars and activities such as these also underscore the need for the involvement of all the Government ministries, particularly the Ministry of Business which now has to be more integrally involved in the climate change discourse nationally.

“Previously, it was felt that only some government ministries or agencies were involved in this discourse and, therefore, the full responsibility for widening it fell on them, but we are broadening it now and we are going to ensure that the Ministry of Business becomes more integrally involved in this process. As you look forward to the next steps in preparing our NAMAs, I challenge you to be ambitious yet realistic. I challenge you to make innovative recommendations that are transformative mitigation actions, that are not restricted to REDD+ initiatives but rather a cross-sectorial approach within the context of our national capacity and circumstances,” the Minister said.dsc_0148-1

He noted that it is the responsibility of every ‘right thinking’ and responsible Guyanese to do what they can to assist in crafting a nation built on sustainable development.

“As the Government, as the private sector, as the facilitators we have to ensure that the NAMAs are embedded in our national development policies and within existing institutional frameworks. This must not be just words, or a statement but a firm commitment on the part of all of us to ensure that these policies are embedded. The development of Guyana is the responsibility of all of us and therefore our attitude to the green economy, our attitude to climate change must reflect that responsibility from all of us,” he said.

Ms. Janelle Christian, Head of the Office of Climate Change, which has been playing a central role in these initiatives, in an invited comment, said that the seminar is just the beginning of the work which must be done to formulate the NAMAs.

“Over the last two days, we had our first training and capacity building workshop, which is an initial step for preparation of what is termed Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMA), which is a requirement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Convention. NAMAs are valid up to 2020 under the Convention but Guyana, nor any other state in the Caribbean, has not yet prepared NAMAs. So under the regional project, which is funded by the Government of Japan, they hosted this workshop so that Guyana can begin the process,” she said.

Ms. Christian noted that discussions centered on what are some of the actions whether through projects, technology or policy that can be implemented to ensure that Guyana mitigates and reduces emissions. “It is timely as it aligns with Government’s efforts and vision for a green economy. One of the critical things that came out is the role the private sector needs to play as they are the drivers of the economy. Government provides more of a coordinating role,” she added.

Participants included staff from various ministries, members and staff of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), students and academic staff of the University of Guyana and representatives from various international organisations.

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