Georgetown, Guyana – (February 20, 2019) Minister of State, Mr. Joseph Harmon, this evening, said Guyana has come in for high commendation from the international community, particularly the United Nations Convention to Combat Climate Change (UNCCD) for a job well done in the successful hosting of the Seventeenth Session of the Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC 17).

The Conference was held on January 28 to 30, 2019 at the Arthur Chung Convention Centre (ACCC) and saw the participation 94 countries, seven Inter-Government Organisations (IGOs), seven United Nations agencies and 20 Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), bringing the number of participants to 566.

Minister Harmon, who was speaking at a small appreciation ceremony held for the local organising committee staff and volunteers at the ACCC, said that the UNCCD’s Executive Secretary, Ms. Monique Barbut, who was also here for the conference, was most pleased with the arrangements, facilities and Guyanese hospitality.

“This conference was a highly successful one. I have been advised that all of the objectives of the Committee were achieved and we were commended for being an exceptional host and that was communicated at the highest levels by UNCCD, Executive Secretary, Ms. Monique Barbut. I must congratulate all of you for a job well done. The National Planning Committee must also be commended. You have contributed substantially to the success of this conference while at the same time gaining experience and knowledge that will serve you well in the future,” he said.

Noting that this is the first such conference to be held in the Anglophone Caribbean since the hosting of the Non-Alignment Movement Conference in 1972, the Minister of State said that all of Guyana, the Caribbean and Latin America can be proud of what has been achieved.

“It was indeed great achievement not only for Guyana but the entire Latin America and the Caribbean. It reinforces Guyana’s commitment to environmental protection generally and in particular, the issues of combatting desertification, land degradation and drought. It also provided an opportunity for Latin America and the Caribbean to put forward regional perspectives on matters relating to the Convention to Combat Desertification. In addition to everything else, facilities were provided for the simultaneous translation of the proceedings into six languages. It was therefore no small task to plan and implement the arrangements to ensure a smooth conduct of the event,” Minister Harmon stated.

Minister of Citizenship, Mr. Winston Felix, whose department had the task of offering visa and other support services to the visitors said that he is extremely proud of what the Guyanese team has been able to accomplish through thorough planning and collaboration.

“I can speak to the efforts of the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission and so saying thanks is a pleasurable task I must undertake. The work of the staff, volunteers and Commission is worthy of all praise. So often people work and work and nothing is said about their role in the success and so that is why this event is so important. You have done exceedingly well and Guyana is proud of you and you should take the efforts of CRIC 17 to your daily lives so that every Guyanese can benefit from a high level of service that they so deserve,” he said.

The People’s Republic of China, through its Embassy here in Guyana contributed US$1.1 million for the procurement of critical equipment for ACCC to ensure the successful hosting of the Conference.

Minister of Public Telecommunications, Ms. Catherine Hughes under whose purview the ACCC falls, said that Guyana remains grateful to the nation for its continued support and contributions. The success of the Conference highlights the good relations Guyana shares with China, she said.

“In addition to the monetary contribution, every time we encountered a problem, we were able to pick up the phone and call the Chinese Embassy and receive their help and so there are so many unsung heroes that made this Conference successful. I am proud because we have put Guyana on the map and we are now up there ‘sitting with the big boys’ when it comes to being able to deliver an international conference to the levels and standards expected,” Minister Hughes said.

Her sentiments were shared by Chinese Ambassador to Guyana, Mr. Cui Jianchun, who also heaped commendations on Guyana for a job well done as well as the opportunity to fortify the relations between the two countries.

“Congratulations to Guyana on having this important international meeting. You have done well and this was really an opportunity to let the international community know what is Guyana and where is Guyana. The contribution was important but more importantly, it was the relationship that was strengthen. Cash is great but the relationship is even greater. Guyana has great potential and a great future and I am happy that we were able to do something for the Guyanese people and Government. I am happy that we were able to take the relationship to a new height,” the Chinese Ambassador said.

All volunteers and staff were presented with a certificate of appreciation signed by the Minister of State for their efforts.

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