Upper Mazaruni leaders call for more time to review the LCDS 2030

Residents of Upper Mazaruni, Region Seven are requesting more time to peruse the Government’s Low Carbon Development Strategy for the coming years. During a consultation at Kamararng in Region Seven, the Government met with village leaders of the Upper Mazaruni area who requested funding to consult with villagers in far-flung communities.

The LCDS programme was first introduced in 2009. Under a partnership with Norway, Guyana is paid to preserve its forest, majority of which is located in the hinterland regions. The sums were in the past used for the Amerindian Land titling project, to develop micro and small enterprises, transform forest management, provide ICT access to remote communities and install solar panels in hinterland communities among others. Through the ongoing consultation, the Government is working to garner input from residents across Guyana on the programme for the programme’s continuance.

The consultation was led by Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance, Gail Teixeira, along with a team from the Office of the President and other key government agencies. Present at the meeting were village leaders from eight villages of the Mazaruni namely: Kamarang, Kako, Waramodong, Phillipi, Chinoweing, Paruima, Jawalla, Ominika.

Clyde Henry of Waramodong expressed his concern about the expansion of mining in the region. He noted that the granting of more mining concessions will leave larger portions of land being cleared for mining activities. Further, he explained that the high costs to transport goods and equipment to the region will result in higher costs to recover mined-out lands. This according to him will pose a challenge in keeping the forest standing.

The Head of the LCDS Consultation team Miss Vanessa Benn informed the villagers that mineral mapping will be done and made available to the public. Benn noted that this will help to reduce deforestation since the mineral map will outline where the natural resources are so that unnecessary forested area doesn’t have to be cleared for mining.

Miss Benn further urged the representatives of the various villages present to familiarize themselves with the information, gather inputs and feedback from the residents of their villages, and submit their ideas and opinions to the LCDS team at the Office of the President.

In closing, the call for another session was made by Kamarang village leader Toshao Bensen Thomas for another session to be held in the region “Every village has something to say, we didn’t get to reach particular areas of interest as yet as time is too short, we are of the hope that another similar session can be kept with the village leaders. We can then go back to our villages and properly explained the documents,” he said.

The LCDS 2030 draft for consultation was made available online for the public in October 2021 to let the public offer their recommendations and suggestions. Currently, a national consultation is being carried out in all ten administrative regions following which a draft document will be revised and laid in the National Assembly.

The LCDS 2030 builds on the LCDS 2009-2015 where Guyana was paid for forest service. The document that is being consulted on, outlines the approaches and actions that Guyana can take to develop and grow in a non-polluting way. The Strategy offers to build a new carbon economy on four objectives: to create new incentives for a low-carbon economy, protect against climate change and biodiversity loss, stimulate future growth: clean energy and low-carbon development, and align with global climate and biodiversity goals.