Georgetown, Guyana – (May 28, 2019) President David Granger, this afternoon, received a copy of the Green State Development Strategy (GSDS) Vision 2040 from United Nations Environment Programme’s Director, Latin America and the Caribbean, Mr. Leo Heileman at the Ministry of the Presidency.
The strategy was presented to President Granger in the presence of his Cabinet. In receiving the document, the Head of State said the strategy is very important not only to Guyana but to those countries within the Guiana Shield and even our CARICOM sister territories.
“The world is realising almost by the day that climate change is a grim, relentless reality. There is no avoidance. Hardly a day passes that we do not see the adverse impact of climate change. It is great for us to be ahead of the game. We have challenges with our coastal zone management, we have cycles of El Nino, drought and flood in our hinterland, we have industries which are now starting to have an impact on air quality and water quality,” said the President.
He noted too that Guyana will work towards building stronger relationships with other states so that efforts can be combined in the fight against climate change.
The President believes that with the strategy, there must be education. He said the implementation of the strategy would be “frustrated” if the populace, from the smallest child, is not educated or environmentally conscious.
“We know the need to ensure our environment is protected. So, our strategy is to combine what God has given us, the special asset of our environment, with what is happening in the economy,” said President Granger.
He reminded that not many countries globally have had the benefit of a strategy before becoming a petroleum state.
“Today, we are very grateful,” the President said, while noting that the GSDS is not a private development strategy for one country as he pointed to the effect of climate change.
“We intend to be a ‘green’ state [and] I hope that other Caribbean countries will take the lead from Guyana in pursuit of this strategy,” President Granger said.
Meanwhile, Mr. Heileman explained that today’s presentation of the GSDS: Vision 2040 represents a follow-up on the vision delivered last October. The said document was revised and submitted to Cabinet in April. He explained that the 20-year national development policy reflects the guiding vision and principles of the ‘green agenda’ which is an inclusive and prosperous Guyana that provides a good quality life for all its citizens based on sound education and social protection, low-carbon and resilient development, providing new economic opportunities, justice and political empowerment.
The Strategy, the United Nations Environment Programme Director for Latin America and the Caribbean said, promotes three key messages: manage natural resource wealth; support economic resilience and build human capital and institutional capacity.
He said the transparent establishment of the Natural Resource Fund Act will ensure that revenues from oil and gas are invested wisely, thereby avoiding the curse of the Dutch disease. Mr. Heileman noted too that the sound management of Guyana’s natural resources wealth – particularly forests, are essential to the country’s global leadership in relation to climate mitigation and sustainable development. He alluded to the need to reorient investment in the education sector while adding that building human resource capacity must start from the nursery school level all the way to tertiary.
Meanwhile, Director of the Department of Environment (DoE), Ministry of the Presidency, Ms. Ndibi Schwiers assured President Granger that the GSDS not only includes his vision of an inclusive and prosperous country, but one that provides a good quality of life for all citizens. She said implementation will begin in 2020 even as she explained the need for the establishment of a team that is focused on implementing the recommendations found within the document.