Friday, March 25, 2011

Loopholes in Norway’s support for Low Carbon Development Strategy to Guyana exposed

The Norwegian Minister of the Environment & International Development - Erik Solheim, will be visiting Guyana (a country with one of the largest unspoiled rainforests in South America, some parts of which are almost inaccessible by humans) in the last week of March 2011 amidst complaints about poor performance of the Norwegian supported five-year Low Carbon Development Strategy worth $US250M which was agreed in 2009. The funds have been released in agreed tranches.
But a year ago, Solheim congratulated Guyana’s President Bharrat Jagdeo when he was awarded the United Nations’ 2010 Champion of the Earth. Solheim described Jagdeo’s promotion of low carbon development as “an example for others to follow.”

In fact the ACP / EU Courier magazine (January / February 2011) carries a special report on Guyana: Trailblazing a low carbon development: Bold or risky? and an interview with President Bharrat Jagdeo himself, on ‘developing Guyana with a low carbon footprint’. According to the President, Guyana’s Low Carbon Development strategy is designed in such a way that more donors can join in at any point

But according to members of civil society and two Members of Parliament, there are glaring loopholes that need to be sorted out before the worthwhile programme can continue in Guyana. In this regard, they have written a letter which suggests that there are at least eight reasons why Solheim should perhaps revise his opinion of President Jagdeo and take a more critical look at Norway’s support for his Low Carbon Development Strategy. The letter recommends that Norway should not release any funds to Guyana on the grounds that Guyana has “substantially failed to implement the MoU, either in spirit or in practice.”

Read the full Civil Society letter to the Norwegian Minister of the Environment & International Development - Erik Solheim, ahead of his visit to Guyana

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