Rejection of APA’s complaint to Art Trees

The Government of Guyana welcomes the conclusion of the independent ART-TREES grievance process and the rejection of the complaint made by the Amerindian Peoples’ Association (APA), including the associated call by the APA for the suspension of Guyana’s ART-TREES carbon credits.

As has been confirmed by the independent grievance process, the APA’s claims that it had not been appropriately consulted on Guyana’s ART-TREES issuance process were verifiably false.

The APA’s complaint had been made without the knowledge or support of any Indigenous communities in Guyana, and without even the knowledge or support of any of their elected leaders. Once the existence of the complaint was made public (by other parties, not by the APA), not a single Indigenous community supported it.

It is to their credit that the National Toshaos’ Council (NTC) spoke up on behalf of Indigenous communities to ensure that their voices would be heard. The NTC is comprised of leaders from every Indigenous community in Guyana. Those leaders are elected by their own communities, unlike those of the APA. The NTC continues to speak up on behalf of communities across the country, including raising issues with the Government to ensure that communities receive the benefits from the sale of carbon credits that they rightly expected.

Now that the APA’s complaint has been rejected, we hope that individuals and families who live in our indigenous villages and communities will be freed from the worry that their expected benefits will be jeopardised.

Guyana has earned US$150 million in payments from the sale of ART-TREES credits for the year 2023. Some 85% of this money is being invested in multi-community and national priorities identified by stakeholders during the seven-month consultation on the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) 2030, while 15% – or GYD 4.7 Billion – has been directly transferred to village bank accounts for investment in village plans, put together by villages themselves. This Programme will see continuous financing flows to villages. A total of 242 communities are putting those plans together, and over 80 have already been completed to the standards required by village-led processes. In all cases, the village processes must culminate with a vote of approval from at least two-thirds of all adult villagers present at village meetings (in many villages, support has been unanimous). All 242 communities have their own carbon credit bank accounts and finance committees chosen by villagers and community members.

On Thursday 18th May, the first 13 villages received a total of GYD187 million as they mobilise to invest in areas identified by community members. These include priorities as varied as building shade houses, improving local guesthouses for tourism, supporting cassava farming, providing craft classes and purchasing village tractors. Now that the call for their revenues to be suspended has clearly been rejected, communities can rest assured that their plans for unprecedented levels of financing will be realised.

This ends an unnecessary and negative attempt to override the freely expressed desire of communities to continue to participate in a process started in 2009 with the world’s first Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) from a developing country. The process continues and the Government of Guyana hopes that all stakeholders who wish to do so will continue to engage with the LCDS 2030 as it continually evolves, and the country plots a development pathway to 2030 that values all Guyanese.