Georgetown, Guyana – (September 9, 2015) The Department of Natural Resources and the Environment, today held its National Stakeholders Consultation, in an effort to formulate the Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) on Climate Change from Guyana, which is expected to be presented at the United Nations Change Conference in Paris, France in December.
INDCs will be foundational for the Paris climate agreement, demonstrating countries' intent to decarbonise their economies and invest in resilience.
The event was held at the Grand Coastal Inn and was attended by; Advisor on the Environment, Rear Admiral Gary Best, Minister of Governance with responsibility for Natural Resources and the Environment, Raphael Trotman, Permanent Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources, Joslyn McKenzie, Advisor on Sustainable Development at NRE, Clayton Hall, Head of the Guyana Energy Agency, Dr. Mahender Sharma, former Presidential Advisor and Head of the Guyana Lands and Survey Commission, Andrew Bishop.
Representatives from various organisations including the European Union (EU), Conservation International Guyana (CIG), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC), Iwokrama International Centre, Guyana Human Rights' Association among others, were also present.
Minister Raphael Trotman, who declared the discussion open, told the representatives that the engagement was not only timely, but also needed.
According to Minister Trotman, Cabinet had mandated that a task force be set up to prepare Guyana for the Conference in Paris and out of this task force, came a draft document. However, he did not want this document to be the final one and as such, the forum was organised for comments, criticisms and suggestions on how it can be best improved.
He noted that is it always in the best interest of the country for the national stakeholders to be allowed to give their input and advice on a matter of such importance.
"We are happy that this engagement is taking place. All of you are well aware of the need for Guyana to have an Intended Nationally Determined Contribution. You are all well aware of matters of climate change and adaptation and about upcoming meetings which culminate in December... We felt that this should be brought here for you to give your input and take a position. You don't have to agree. The important thing is that you have a position on the matter," Minister Trotman said.
In the meantime, Permanent Secretary of the Department, Joslyn McKenzie, in his presentation told agencies that climate change is one of the defining global challenges of our time and poses a serious threat to the well-being of humanity and the security of peoples and States. The adverse impacts of climate change, he said, are affecting all countries around the world; developed and developing, alike.
As such, he noted that the fight must be aggressive and it is in this regard that the INDC is crucial.
"The INDC should provide a clear signal to the general public and of course, the international community that Guyana is fully committed to achieving the paradigm shift towards low-carbon and climate-resilient development. The INDC needs to make a long-term commitment to this, making use of both domestic resources and international support... It is essential that Guyana's INDCs be ambitious, while leading to transformation in the most carbon-intensive sectors and industries," he said.
Stakeholders who were invited to participate, shared their thoughts on how best they believe, the document can be improved and even pointed out areas, which were not covered in the draft document.
Shyam Nokta, a consultant, was high in praise for the initiative as he pointed out that the move by the government should be commended. "I want to thank the government for taking this initiative. The draft presentation was excellent and I think it covers a lot of critical areas as we move towards making a submission from Guyana," Nokta said.
Meanwhile, Mr. Bernard, a participant said that while the presentation was most informative, he was concerned that the initial process did not begin with consultations and that a document was drafted before it was seen by the national stakeholders.
"If we are going to combat climate change, we need the support of everyone. It concerns me that this INDC has been drafted but we are now coming together to sit as stakeholders," he expressed. Bernard said, however, that is pleased that there is a consultative process being conducted.