The visiting team met with President Donald Ramotar, Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, Minister of Finance, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and officials from the Office of the President. The Mission also saw engagements with the agencies under the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment, including the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC).
iNews understands that the visit comes shortly after the formal announcement by the Governments of Guyana and Norway on the release of the 4th Payment under the partnership, which saw US$35M being approved for payment into the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF). Guyana has earned $150 million under the partnership thus far.
According to a media statement, the Norwegian Team met with Minister Robert Persaud, where a number of priority areas on natural resources management, were discussed. Among the main areas discussed were continued advancement of work under the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), continued work on REDD+ and the Monitoring Reporting and Verification System (MRVS), and information sharing and access on relevant areas, including concession and license issuance.
The Natural Resources and the Environment Minister presented to the Norwegian team, the Pre Inception Report on EITI and expressed the Government of Guyana’s continued commitment to further advance Guyana’s work on EITI.
He also shared the Ministry’s vision for the future development of the Natural Resources and Environmental sector and spoke of the Strategic Plan for the Natural Resources and Environmental Sector, which is about to be finalized. Minister Persaud further explained that developments are also taking place on the operational end.
Further, he explained the importance of taking a multi stakeholder approach to sector development initiatives, and in this regard he outlined the integral role of the Ministry’s cooperation with the private sector. Key priorities, such as the improvement of technology and mining practices, as important to assisting miners with shifting away from the use of mercury and to improve the recovery efficiency of mining operations was highlighted by Minister Persaud. He also alluded to increasing uptake by industry adoption of new technologies, such as centrifuge systems, which can increase recovery rates in mines from 30% to 80% compared to traditional practices.
Additionally, the Norwegian team also met with the agencies under the natural resources sector in various sessions on 4th November. These meetings included discussions with the GGMC, the GFC and the GLSC. These meetings allowed for detailed technical discussions on other priority areas under the Guyana Norway Partnership including EU Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (EU FLEGT), and the Independent Forest Monitoring, Forest Carbon Partnership Facility, among others.
The Norwegian team also met with various civil society stakeholders, including indigenous peoples’ organizations, members of the diplomatic corps, as well as the Leader of the Opposition, Brigadier rtd. David Granger and members of his shadow Cabinet. The Mission closed with a field trip to the Cunha Canal and Santa Mission Amerindian Village.