The President addressing his audience yesterday
His announcement came as he took the bid by the government to place Guyana’s economy on a climate change footing to an interactive session at the Turkeyen campus of the University of Guyana.
A section of the audience listening attentively
He said the Head of State’s presentation to students, lecturers and other top university officials was like a “breath of fresh air”.
President Jagdeo, in a detailed one-hour address, said the current debate for countries like Guyana is about, among other key issues, getting payment for helping to save the planet by preserving standing forests.
This, he said, calls for a “serious lobbying effort” to get deforestation included in the agreement from the United Nations summit on climate change in Copenhagen, Denmark in December.
He said the developed world was not doing enough towards reducing the emission of harmful gases into the atmosphere that is at the core of the climate change battle.
“Clearly all the proposals on the table will not give you the cuts that you need (to reduce emission)”, he said.
“What we have to argue for, CARICOM, and when I host the Heads of Government here in July, I plan to make this point strongly; in fact we are working on a declaration that will guide our negotiators -- all CARICOM countries -- that that’s the first point they must argue for -- deep emission cuts on the part of the developed world…that go beyond their technical potential to deliver even now”, he said.
He said Guyana and its partners also have to argue for sufficient funds to address deforestation, including adaptation, mitigation and technology transfer.
The President reiterated that Guyana is not seeking compensation from the developed world for preserving its forests but wants payment for its services to the international climate change cause through its model.
He advocated a greater partnership with countries like Guyana from the private sector in the developed world “because we can meet their objectives by tough domestic cuts but also by cheaper sources of abatement which deforestation provides.”
Guyana, he declared, is not very happy with the World Bank-type of institutional mechanism for payments for its forest services to the global cause.
He said: “The World Bank has traditionally been very bureaucratic and many of these countries and institutions are still at a loss to address some of the institutional imperatives for moving this process forward quickly. But we may have to settle on this.”
The President said he has made it clear that without compromising on transparency in the use of the funds, or without compromising on the consultative nature of the process, “these institutions shall not use the traditional bureaucratic approach to disbursing funds for climate change because it simply wouldn’t fly”.
The President said the World Bank and other institutions have “a whole repertoire of aid tools that can’t be used in the 21st century that require radical overhaul (and) reform and we are dealing with that through some other lobbying efforts.”
“This is a development strategy”, he stressed and urged the university to support the debate on the document.
“The whole idea is to make this work for our country. This goes beyond a single government – it’s a long term vision that would outlast many, many governments and we all need to work at this because it can provide a whole range of opportunities for young people.
“It would make that leap to our transformational issues because what we are doing is fixing up things – schools, roads, bridges, etc. We need now a new wave of infrastructure, new industries that can be catalysed by this process”, he said.