Georgetown, Guyana — (June 19, 2018) The Office of Climate Change (OCC), today, hosted the first session of a two-part National Stakeholder Forum for the Transitioning to National Energy Security (TNES): Bartica as a model Green Town Project. The Stakeholder Meeting was held in the Ogle Room of the Herdmanston Lodge in Queenstown.

The TNES Project is being implemented by the OCC in partnership with the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) and funded by the Government of Italy under the Italy-Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Partnership Programme. The objective of the project is to gather and compile data on energy use in Bartica, which will be used to inform evidence-based decision making for the future implementation of projects and programmes. The stakeholder meetings will see the participation of a number of representatives from a wide cross-section of national and international agencies in an attempt to collect a comprehensive data set.

During her feature address, Head of the OCC, Ms. Janelle Christian said that the project represents the potential Guyana has to be a true ‘green’ State. “This is not an OCC project. This is a Government of Guyana project. This is [the] possibility of where we can go as a country… Even as we have great ambition and we learn from what is happening in other parts of the world, we must bear in mind our particular… country context… Importantly, we need data for decision-making, otherwise it may just be guess work,” she said.

Ms. Christian encouraged the stakeholders to fully engage in the meeting as the TNES project will provide a blueprint for other towns and countries to replicate. “As we learn, even as we introduce these concepts in Bartica, they will be replicated in the other towns across Guyana… I want to encourage you today to ask questions, make suggestions so that we can ensure that this process is robust, to ensure that we do not just have a good time in terms of being happy with the results of our studies… [Think] about the President’s vision because, very soon, the Green State Development Strategy will be fully elaborated to the point of implementation. So, Bartica is giving us an opportunity to learn,” she said.

Mayor of Bartica, Mr. Gifford Marshall said that Bartica is committed to its role as a model green town. “The Municipality of Bartica is committed to, not only establishing ‘green’ projects and ‘green’ ideas and moving the concept forward within the township, but we are also committed to sharing our ideas and ideals with the rest of Guyana… This project will serve as a great pillar on what is to come… This project… will lay the foundation for right decisions going forward… Bartica is one of the most beautiful towns in Guyana and we need to preserve that environment. We want to set the pace. We want to ensure that whatever is done there is done in an environmentally friendly matter… Bartica is going places and Guyana as a whole will benefit tremendously,” he said.

Representative from the CCCCC, Mr. Mark Bynoe spoke on the importance of working with a wide cross-section of consultants to collect data for the TNES Project. “A ‘green’ economy must be accompanied with the requisite capacity to stimulate and support such an initiative. Thus, while speaking of public-private partnerships, it’s imperative that we begin that dialogue, not today, but start it from yesterday and long ago… it is imperative that we recognise the importance of working hand-in-hand as we seek to truly make what started out as a vision, become a reality,” he said.

To exemplify the OCC’s approach to data-gathering, the international consultants spoke of their roles in the TNES Project.

Consultant from IDAD: Institute of Environment and Development, based in Portugal, Mr. Miguel Coutinho spoke on the development of an energy efficient transportation sector. “Transportation is a very important issue as far as climate change is concerned… Almost 40 per cent of imported fuel goes to transportation… as citizens, all of us have a role to play. When we decide to go to a certain place using a certain mode of transportation, that decision has… a strong impact on climate change… We want to understand… how people in Bartica move around… and why they do it and to try to understand if it’s possible to make recommendations to change this system,” he said.

2R Productions Incorporated is tasked with the documentation of the project, preparation of the projections content manual and formulation of the communication plan for the way forward. Communication Consultant, Mr. Huntley Medley said that simplicity is the key to disseminating information and keeping all levels of society abreast and involved. “It’s really about unifying, simplifying, and amplifying. We have to take all these materials and unify them to see how they fit into one big picture. We have to simplify it so people understand [that]… there are practical, everyday applications that are beneficial in everyday life… The amplification is to tell it repeatedly and get people involved in telling the story themselves… The people themselves become so involved that they are also replicating the information,” he said.

Charged with developing the Energy Data Management System (EDMS), CEO and Founder of AgileLight, Mr. Kendell Patrice is eager to contribute to the achievement of Guyana’s ‘green’ State. “We sat down and we thought to ourselves that it’s not very often you get to be part of something as impactful, something as meaningful, and something as significant as this project… Guyana is a significant player in the role of the Caribbean with the recent oil finds. It means [Guyana] has an opportunity to diversify [its] energy portfolio or even venture and create possible ‘green’ solutions that can definitely scale throughout Guyana and, more importantly, throughout the Caribbean, throughout the world. This can be the model country,” he said.

Canada-based consultant from environmental engineering and design consultancy, CBCL Limited, Mr. Jared Smith applauded the Government of Guyana for taking on this ambitious task. “We’re going to conduct the energy audits for commercial buildings. We’re going to look at the socioeconomic impacts of this [project]… Climate change is a real issue that affects everyone in the world… Climate change is happening and we need to do everything we can to slow it down or stop it… It’s an ambitious goal but it’s so refreshing to see governments actually pursuing the green building… We’re so excited to be part of that and happy to help out in any way we can,” he said.

Part Two of the National Stakeholder Forum will continue tomorrow in Bartica. The meeting hosted teams from the Ministries of Public Health, Finance, Communities, and Public Infrastructure as well as representatives from the National Data Management Authority, the Guyana Office for Investment, The Department of Environment, the World Wildlife Fund, the Guyana National Bureau of Statistics and other national stakeholders.

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