Georgetown, Guyana – (December 8, 2017) Minister of State, Mr. Joseph Harmon, this morning, said that the fertile relations between Guyana and the Kingdom of Norway continue to bear fruit with the approval of a US$14.8M Sustainable Land Development and Management Project under the Norway Agreement, which entails making productive use of degraded and deforested lands. The Minister made this announcement during an address at the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission (GL&SC) Staff Retreat, where he elaborated on the Government’s vision and the important role that this agency plays in implementing a land administration system here. The retreat was held at De Impeccable Banquet Hall, Brickdam.

The Minister said that the Agreement is an important step towards advancing President David Granger’s Green State Development Strategy (GSDS), which aims to provide “a good life for every citizen through the establishment of a ‘green’ state and a ‘green’ economy”.

In further articulating the Government’s vision as it relates to the GL&SC’s role in advancing ‘green’ development, the Minister said that the agency has been charged with the responsibility of establishing and implementing a land management system in Guyana. “Given [the] understanding of the relationship between human existence and land, the issue then becomes one of arranging organised and beneficial occupation of land, a system of land administration … [which] is land administration guidelines. These guidelines define land administration as the process of determining, recording and disseminating information about ownership, value and use of land and its associated resources,” he said.

The Minister then expressed confidence in the GL&SC’s ability to fulfil their mandate, noting that he has been given the assurance that they have “a keen sense of this responsibility by your own mission statement, which is “to effectively and efficiently administer lands for the benefit of our clients and national development, your clients being all the citizens of Guyana.”

Meanwhile, in an invited comment, Head, Project Management Office, Mr. Marlon Bristol said that he was pleased that Norway has endorsed the Sustainable Land Development and Management Project, which is a component of the GSDS. “The Green State Development Strategy looks at enhancing energy and resource efficiency, it looks at reducing carbon emissions and pollution, it looks at a more equitable distribution of income, it looks at increasing decent jobs and it also looks at preventing loss of biodiversity and eco-system services so those areas immediately show that the Green State Development Strategy itself is far more comprehensive than the Low Carbon Development Strategy, which is focused on low carbon, low emissions from deforestation and degradation,” he said.

Mr. Bristol said that the relationship between the two nations has been solidified on the GSDS platform and as such they have been working on a number of projects within the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF), which are expected to be fully implemented by the end of 2018.

Commissioner, GL&SC, Mr. Trevor Benn, Minister within the Ministry of Natural Resources, Ms. Simona Broomes; United Nations Resident Co-ordinator and United Nations Development Programme Resident Representative, Ms. Mikiko Tanaka; Consultant, Ms. Melanie Smith and members of staff of the GL&SC also attended the retreat.

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