Georgetown, Guyana – (January 23, 2019) Minister of State, Mr. Joseph Harmon, who holds responsibility for the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission (GLSC), today, conducted a final site visit to the Arthur Chung Convention Centre (ACCC), which will play host to the Seventeenth Session of the Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat desertification (CRIC 17). The Conference will run from January 28- 30, 2019.

In an invited comment to media operatives, Minister Harmon said that Guyana is ready to showcase the work it has put in for the past year to make the event possible and to demonstrate to the world that it is just as capable as any other nation to host events of this magnitude.

“I am extremely happy with the arrangements that have been made here. This is, of course, a major conference of the United Nations. It is the largest conference we have held in Guyana since 1972, which was the Conference of the Non-Aligned Movement. Since then we have learnt, I believe, how to significantly manage a major event. What is important here for me, is that as a Guyanese, I feel extremely proud that we will be showcasing Guyana at a major event like this and walking around here this afternoon, looking at the preparation, I believe we are ready to welcome the United Nations to Guyana,” the Minister of State said.

He noted that the GLSC and all other agencies associated with the Conference must be congratulated for a job well done in ensuring that the facility is up to United Nations standard and ready to accommodate more than 400 participants from 196 countries.

“This is a coming together of all that is good about Guyana to present an image of this country that we are capable of hosting a major event like this. I want to congratulate GLSC for the work which they have done from the time Guyana was identified to host this Conference. It has been a major logistics challenges, I can tell you that but the Commission has done an excellent job. I know as persons come through the airport, they would see the development that is taking place. They would have read about Guyana or heard about Guyana but actually coming here and experiencing that level of hospitality and warmth, I think they will leave here with an excellent experience. There will be 196 delegations coming here and what I have seen here satisfies me that we have put our best foot forward and the Government and people of Guyana will be well represented,” he said.

The facility will be handed over to the UN Security team on January 26, 2019.

In addition to being the first such international conference since the Non-Aligned Movement Meeting in 1972 to be held in Guyana, it will also be the first time that such an event of the UNCCD will take place in the English-speaking Caribbean.

Around 400-600 persons from 196 countries around the world are expected to travel to Georgetown and will include the UNCCD Executive Secretary, Ms. Monique Barbut and operational units from the UNCCD Secretariat and United Nations offices, UN media operatives, civil society and Inter-Governmental Organizations.

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