Vagueness of Green State Development Strategy cause for concern- Jagdeo

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… says devoid of a practical strategy for achieving many of its goals

Opposition Leader Dr Bharat Jagdeo

With nationwide consultations on the Green State Development Strategy (GSDS) scheduled to have started from April, eyebrows are being raised over the shortened time frame and the general lack of specificity of the framework document.

The framework document states that the elements of the Strategy will be examined and consulted upon between April and December of 2017. Two months into this period, consultations are yet to begin.

Within the framework, seven “central themes” are provided. They include promises to diversify the economy, “creating decent jobs for all”, transitioning to renewable energy and “human development and well-being”. But questions are being raised about exactly how many of these strategies will be achieved.

According to Opposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo, the vagueness of the document at such an advanced stage of the consultative process is cause for concern. He noted that the document is devoid of a practical strategy for achieving many of its goals.

“It’s big on promises, but it does not have a practical outline (on how) to achieve those outcomes. And, therefore, it’s useless from that perspective. You can pull together a document based on best practices around the world, but it has to be relevant to Guyana.”

“It has to be achievable,” the former President stressed. “And the document needs to set out how we are going to get to those goals. And this one falls short on all counts.”

The former President noted that when the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government had developed and started consultations on its Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS), it was from a standpoint of clearly outlined project proposals. In addition, information on how these proposals would be implemented had been provided.

“When we developed the Low Carbon Development Strategy, we had about 300 meetings, we sent out text messages to over 500,000 cell phones for people to read the strategy,” Jagdeo said. “It was out of those consultations that we came up with a list of projects to implement that would see Guyana move forward, both in terms of having a greener outcome and more prosperity.”

“That’s why we said our LCDS was not an environmental strategy, it was a development strategy. It set out to achieve the same prosperity for Guyanese, but using a greener path way. We did some work on ethanol. We set some money aside for the centre for bio-diversity studies…,” he pointed out.

According to Jagdeo, there were plans to set money aside for adaptation measures against climate change; such as money to do research into the types of crops that would be drought and flood resistant to ensure that farmers would be less vulnerable.

“Some resources were set aside to transform the Amerindian village economy, for land titling. Some were set aside for a grant programme for Guyanese. If they had green projects, they could have applied for and gotten a grant to do some of those projects. So we had the projects already there.”

It is understood that the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is providing the Government of Guyana with technical support to develop the Green State Development Strategy.

At the inaugural Green Business Forum held at the Marriott Hotel in Kingston, Georgetown on June 9,  Director of the Department of Environment, Ndibi Schwiers, noted that the Strategy sought to fully maximise the “potential and promise” of Guyana becoming a green economy.

Schwiers had said that the green growth pathway “will positively transform our economy” by helping to maximise Guyana’s potential and develop adequate infrastructure to utilise energy resources.

“It is also an advocate for green businesses…with consideration for sustainability and conservation,” Schwiers added.

Adriana Zacarias, Regional Coordinator, Resource Efficiency of UN Environment, said the next step for the GSDS is another round of consultations. Zacarias said this was the third phase.

“There will be a series of consultations in the country, not only in Georgetown but around the country, in getting the input from the business sector,” Zacarias had said.

The framework of the GSDS and financing mechanisms’ document was completed in March with financial and technical support from UN Environment. Initial consultations with regard to the development of the framework document began last December between the Government and other key stakeholders.

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