Guyana only country on list of 28 with incomplete climate change strategy

  • Argentina adopted policy this year; Panama, Nicaragua & Haiti have several

Despite Guyana being one of the at-risk countries of the effects of climate change, a Universal Periodic Review (UPR) has highlighted that it is the only country out of 28 in the region with an incomplete climate change mitigation plan.

In the United Nations (UN) publication “Climate change and human rights: contributions by and for Latin America and the Caribbean”, there is a table featuring the dates that 28 Latin American and Caribbean countries adopted their climate change mitigation strategies.

According to the report, compiled by the UN’s Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Guyana’s National Climate Change Policy and Action Plan (2020-2030), is “forthcoming”.

Countries such as Haiti (National Policy to Combat Climate Change), Panama (National Climate Change Strategy 2050), Argentina (National Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Plan) and Nicaragua (National Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Policy and Climate Change Response System), have policies they adopted this year.

Other countries like Costa Rica, Cuba, Brazil, Grenada and Saint Lucia, have policies that were adopted either last year or within the past few years. A few countries, like Dominica, the Bahamas and Barbados, adopted their strategies years ago.

The report also contains recommendations made and received by various countries, though the publication states that Guyana was one of only a few countries in the region to not make any climate change recommendations. Cuba and Haiti top the list for the number of recommendations they made and received.

Guyana did receive one recommendation, however. The publication noted that Guyana should “continue and intensify programmes aimed at mitigating climate change negative impacts on food security and environment, and share the experience gained in this field with interested countries”.

The publication also made a link between climate change and gender equality. According to ECLAC, Guyana should review its climate change and energy policies, in particular, those related to the oil and gas sector, to better develop a disaster risk reduction strategy.

According to ECLAC, this strategy should consider the negative effects of climate change on gender equality and the lives of women and their families. This, it added, should especially focus on those in the danger zones, that is, areas below sea level.

“The Committee also recommended that Guyana include a gender assessment in all environmental impact assessments and establish a mechanism to monitor the implementation of those assessments and to guarantee that rural and Amerindian women can fully contribute to the development of the country,” the report states.

ECLAC explained that this should include them being able to “give their free, prior and informed consent before any development, business, agro-industrial or extractive projects affecting their traditional lands and resources are initiated, whether carried out by national or foreign enterprises, [and to ensure they] can take advantage of adequate benefit-sharing agreements and are provided with adequate alternative livelihood.”

The organisation’s recommendations to Guyana come in the wake of the UN’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR), which is done every four and a half years and is based on a national report from the country being reviewed. The UPR also takes into account the contributions from the UN and information presented by relevant stakeholders including civil society during the review.