Instead of using the money Guyana gained for the protection of its forests for people-centered projects, the former coalition government used some of it to host conventions as well as fund trips around the world for staff members at the Guyana Lands and Survey Commission. Making this disclosure recently was Vice President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo.
In light of the troubling finding, the official said that the PPP/C administration intends to do a full review of GRIF which is the fund that was set up for the financing of activities identified under the Government of Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS). This strategy sets out Guyana’s approach to transition to a green economy while simultaneously promoting economic growth and development.
The Vice President said, “…We had outlined different areas for the use of the GRIF money and these included small loans or grants to businesses which were getting into environmentally less polluting activities, using some of the money for a centre for biodiversity studies, ensuring ICT for vulnerable communities, funding the de-carbonization of the energy sector and a whole range of other things.”
Unfortunately, many of the projects that were people focused did not move forward, the official expressed while adding that the government has every intention of improving this state of affairs.
The Vice President said he was disappointed to learn the state in which some of the projects the PPP had started were left in. Dr. Jagdeo added, “…I am telling you this because we basically stood still for five years on matters related to climate change.”
The Norway-Guyana Partnership
On November 9, 2009, the Governments of Guyana and Norway had signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU), and simultaneously published a Joint Concept Note (JCN), which outlined how the two countries will work together to provide the world with a relevant, replicable model for how Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) can align the development objectives of forest countries with the world’s need to combat climate change. Norway committed to providing financial support of up to US$250 million to Guyana for its efforts in limiting emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, which will support the implementation of Guyana’s LCDS.
As part of the agreement, the two countries agreed to establish the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF) as the financial intermediary mechanism for the performance-based payments from contributors to Guyana.
The GRIF receives payments for forest climate services provided by Guyana; and transfer these payments and any investment income earned on these payments, net of any administrative costs of the Trustee and the Secretariat and any administrative fees to the Partner Entities, for projects and activities that support the implementation of Guyana’s LCDS.