Oil industryBy Yanalla DalrympleDirector of Environment, Nidibi Schwiers, believes as Guyana joins other oil producing territories, many challenges will arise for the country with respect to management of lump sum financial resources.Schwiers made the comments during brief remarks at the recently held sensitisation of citizens on the Green State Development Strategy. According to the Director of Environment, many oil-rich countries – more largely endowed than Guyana – have fallen into recession due to mismanagement and improperly channelled resources.However, she said Guyana will steer its development along two limps; (1) by exploiting the oil resources and (2) ensuring this is done along a sustainable path.Schwiers pointed out that Guyana is in a fortunate position where it can learn from the mistakes of others and avoid the hazards and pitfalls that comes with oil money.“We have the benefit of hindsight and so we can ensure that we avoid these traps,” she said.The Director noted that the green strategy will incorporate the economic as well as the social aspect of the sustainable goals so that these and other goals can be accomplished along a green trajectory.“I hope that we all can fully engage in this process so that we can spark green conversations wherever we go,” Schwiers noted.The seminar was held in collaboration with the Green State Development Coordination Desk (GSDS), and the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) to develop a thorough understanding of the framework document.Coordination Desk (GSDS), Dr Asha Singh, said the intention of the seminar was to provide a better understanding of what the GSDS is all about.She said officials from the relevant Government departments must be able to articulate the Green State Development Strategy to all and sundry.Moreover, Singh expressed her optimism about networking with likeminded agencies to ensure proper collaboration and consultation on what exactly the strategy should contain.United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Representative, Mikiko Tanaka in her address stated that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of zero hunger and zero poverty hinges on the protection of the environment since climate change has impacted harshly on the availability of scare resources.This, she said, presents more complexities for countries that are affected by extreme weather events and are vulnerable because of population size, lack of emergency response and other mitigating factors.Owing to this reality, the strategy requires the broadest possible consultations with every citizen having their say, the UNDP representative said.She stressed that in order to achieve these deliverables, there must be by-ins from Government, inter-sectorial cooperation and extensive societal acceptance.She pointed out that inequalities must be seen in the context of gender gaps, marginalised and minority grouping such as the disabled, women and children, Indigenous, GLBT community as well as the disparity between hinterland and coastal services.According to Tanaka, issues relating to inequality and exclusion must also be addressed if countries are to achieve the SDGs within the specified timeframe. She noted that “all must be included and none must be left behind”. Tanaka urged stakeholders to be charters of their future and influencers of change rather than mere beneficiaries and passive recipients of Government policies and programmes.Participants spoke to the absence of pollution, quality air, replanting, proper garbage disposal, good water quality, renewable energy and safe mining as some of the deliverables they would expected in a green economy.It is anticipated that the consultations would run cross-country to engage stakeholders and groups in discussions with focus on various sub-sectors including transportation, mining, forestry and energy.Using a multi-prong approach among them green infrastructural transformation, sustainable extraction and agricultural productivity as the main thematic areas; the consultations are also expected to explore and document the economic niches that are available.Government recently secured US$1.5 million from the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) Investment Fund to finance the development of the Strategy.This financing was approved by the Steering Committee of the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund following the submission of a detailed proposal and work plan.
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