Georgetown, Guyana – (July 2, 2019) The Office of Climate Change (OCC) in collaboration with the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Co-operation (CSA), today, opened a two day workshop on “Promoting Climate Finance to support Agriculture through Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) Processes in ACP Countries,” at the Herdmanston Lodge. The workshop seeks to provide a platform for local farmers and other stakeholders in the agriculture sector to access financing through international agencies for climate resilience, climate smart agriculture, transfer of technology and adaptation to climate change in this sector.
The NDCs are the country’s proposed plan of actions, which it hopes to take to address adaptation and mitigation actions to climate change.
Dr. Oluyede Ajayi, Senior Programme Coordinator of CTA, in his remarks, said the CTA operates under the framework of the Cotonou Agreement between the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) and European Union (EU). It is funded by the EU under the European Development Fund.
He noted that the general objective of the workshop is to contribute to improved climate finance to support agriculture in general and CTA in particular, in ACP countries. The CTA recently commissioned a country study to review NDCs and related policy documents in 13 selected countries including Guyana; identify levels of implementations of NDCs; assess the profile of agriculture and the engagement of agricultural stakeholders in the implementation of the NDCs, and to identify emerging opportunities and specific appropriate climate financing models for agriculture in the country.
This case study has set the stage for the workshop to take place with the aims focusing on an extensive discussion and validation of the findings of the country study on NDCs and agriculture; identification of priority options and models to support co-investment from the private sector to support the CSA in particular, and agriculture in general in the country; discussion on the mechanisms to raise the profile of agriculture in the implementation of the NDC in the country and key priority action points to promote climate action in the country and climate finance for agriculture.
Head of the OCC, Mrs. Janelle Christian, in her remarks, said that under the Paris Agreement, there is an obligation for developed countries who are parties to the convention to provide support to developing countries to address climate change challenges.
Under this Agreement, she noted that there are numerous financial institutions and facilities that Guyana can take advantage of to address its challenges with global warming and climate change.
“There is a lot of financing available but the challenges are many. For countries to successfully unlock these resources, with financing there is the issue of accountability, transparency and soundness since it is climate related interventions and with each of these funds come their own requirements but there is the Adaptation Fund, the Global Environment Fund, Global Climate Fund (GCF). However, this does not mean that you cannot tap into the fund. This is why the way you engage, the way your country plans, become critical,” she said.
With regard to the Adaptation Fund, Mrs. Christian said that Guyana has never applied to the entity for funding and the opportunity therefore exists for the country to do so, particularly in the area of agriculture. The GCF facility, she said, presents a prime opportunity for Guyana to take advantage to address climate change challenges in the country.
“The GCF has a wide spectrum and avenues for you to tap into what is available. There is the GCF Readiness Support which really speaks to getting your business ready to engage the GCF. The Readiness Programme is one that we can take advantage of. The allocation is US$1M annually for the country to deal with capacity building, understanding issues and putting things in place to take the next step and I believe this is one area we can take advantage of. The GCF has grants, loans, equity but we would like to take advantage of the grants and there is also a private sector component,” she said.
The Head of the OCC said that within the agriculture sector, there must be clarity on what are the issues to be addressed, and what resources are required since agriculture is a major contributor to the economy and provides employment for a significant number of persons.
“We must be in the room and at the table. Agriculture is central to our lives, livelihoods and economy and we must be more focused, aggressive and strategic in our approach to unlock the resources and support available under the framework. We, as vulnerable countries, must benefit. We really need to organise ourselves for success. We need to have clear policies, clear investment plans,” she said.
Meanwhile, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Ms. Delma Nedd said she is pleased that there is an avenue for the agriculture to benefit from financing since it receives less resources than other sectors like public health, infrastructure and education, even though it is a critical sector.
“As such, the case for increased investments in climate smart agriculture has been an ongoing discussion. In fact, in collaboration with our development partners, the Ministry of Agriculture has so far discussed several approaches to assist farmers in increasing productivity while adapting and mitigating climate change. Given the objectives of this workshop, I am pleased to know that additional financing is available and in the making and further, to pledge the Ministry’s support in providing any form of support or information that may be required,” she said.
The workshop targeted local farmers, agro-processors and representatives from related sectors, such as the Ministry of Agriculture, Hydro-Meteorological Office, the Guyana Livestock and Development Authority, National Agricultural Research Extension Institute (NAREI) and Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), among others.