Hinterland residents have asked that the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) address access to better internet connectivity, help in the recovery of lands destroyed by mining and the provision of more assistance to these communities tasked with protecting the forest.
Recognising that the forest supports the livelihoods of a large number of indigenous people and their communities, the LCDS 2030 Draft document stipulates that the process of strengthening the support for indigenous communities will continue. According to the draft document which is being used to conduct countrywide consultations, the new strategy will enable Amerindian communities to continue all sustainable livelihood activities such as hunting and fishing.
Guyana has always employed a policy to allow Indigenous communities to decide whether they want to become involved in REDD+/LCDS or not, with their titled land. The principles of free, prior and informed consent were used and no timeframes were given for a decision to be made. LCDS 2030 will continue to advance this option, and allow Indigenous communities time to choose if and how they want to opt into the REDD+/LCDS.
The following priorities are in place for the Indigenous people and their communities, according to the draft document.
Amerindian Land Titling Project
Discussions for the allocation of funds from the Guyana-Norway partnership to support the Land Titling Programme began in 2010, and by 2013, it was noted that most Amerindian communities had acquired legal titles to their lands, while some of them had outstanding requests and extension requests, all done under free prior and informed consent. LCDS 2030 will continue to work on and hasten the current land titling process, by allocating funds from the Guyana forest services to continue the indigenous land titling process. The document posits that this project is important since ownership will empower the Indigenous people to freely get involved in investments and opportunities that will benefit them socially and economically.
Amerindian Development Fund (ADF)
The ADF is a grant set up to be accessed by indigenous groups to support developmental projects and activities. The document states that over the years, this funding program has been helping indigenous communities to grow socially and economically through the implementation of Community Development Plans. LCDS 2030 will continue the ADF project in order to build and strengthen these communities.
Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Infrastructure
According to the 2030 draft, enabling access to ICT has been the cornerstone of the LCDS. The government recognized that in order to advance the Guyanese society, the ICT infrastructure must be improved. In 2012 the ICT Hinterland Access Program was funded with money derived from the sale of climate services. This program was done to facilitate Indigenous communities with improved access to ICT.
ICT Access and E-Services for Hinterland, Poor and Remote Communities is another project that built the ICT infrastructure in Hinterland communities. The Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF) funded this project, with the aim to begin the installation of ICT Hubs in the 200 Hinterland Villages between 2021 and 2022. These hubs will be equipped with 20 laptops, printers and televisions. The government will continue to foster sustainable growth in Hinterland and remote areas by enabling access to high-quality ICT, e-services and training, to teach Guyanese about various digital technologies.
LCDS 2030 will continue to identify and build the necessary infrastructures that aid in accessing health care, education, industry and climate resilience measures to secure villages and communities, in areas such as sea defence, drainage and irrigation systems in Hinterland communities.
Health Structures and Education facilities
LCDS 2030 draft explains that investing in the health and education sectors of the country will have long term benefits, such as enabling Guyanese to reach a higher standard of living and wellbeing. As a result, it was established that some of the oil and gas revenues will be used to fund the health and education sectors of the society.
LCDS 2030 posits that educational investments will be vital in helping Guyanese recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. After basic education provision is strengthened, then work can begin on strengthening technical and vocational skills, for the Guyanese population. Investment in healthcare will help save the lives of many and help in the wider economy, since hospitals and other healthcare places will be improved, while staff capabilities will be developed. By investing in these two areas, every Guyanese will have access to greater health care and better educational opportunities.
Cost Effective and Reliable Energy Supply
One of the main aims of the Government of Guyana is putting workable solutions on how to ensure cost-effective, reliable and clean energy supply with zero to little deforestation, in the Indigenous communities. In LCDS 2015, it was noted that Guyana was one of those top countries, that uses clean energy. During that period, for the very first time, over eleven thousand Amerindian homes were provided with electricity for the first time. The government will continue to provide cost-effective and clean, reliable energy supply to all Indigenous communities, as it will improve access to the services and provide new economic activities.
LCDS 2030 will continue to prioritize and expand access to services as well as fresh economic opportunities for all Indigenous communities through enhanced social services, such as health and education, clean energy sources, employment, ICT infrastructure and many others, once these services or activities do not threaten the forest and wildlife in the nearby surroundings.