Professor Clement Sankat, Pro Vice Chancellor, UWI, honours President Bharrat Jagdeo for his relentless climate change lobby at the UWI’s St. Augustine campus in Trinidad on Monday last.
Guyana is also a party to the declaration issued by Amazon Basin countries in Manaus, Brazil last week when President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva hosted a summit ahead of the Copenhagen conference.
“We hope that we can influence what takes place in Copenhagen and this is why our model is getting so much publicity around the world”, he said.
Mr. Jagdeo recalled that Britain’s Prince Charles recently spoke about Guyana’s model and said other countries are using it. It’s not the only model because for deforestation… there are different categories of countries”.
In a well-received detailed presentation at the Learning Resource Centre on the campus, he noted that Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) is the only one that has advanced so far.
Guyana, he said, feels it can become a very important part of the abatement solution.
“We have had a long march to get where we are today…to develop the REDD (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) concept and to get REDD expanded to REDD Plus (avoiding deforestation, sustainable forestry management, reforestation, aforestation)”, he said.
Mr. Jagdeo noted that REDD Plus has been accepted as part of the United Nations lexicon and there is now significant support from the developed and developing countries for this new concept.
He recalled the offer he made about three years ago to deploy this country’s forests in the cause of climate change and reiterated that to get REDD approved in a global climate change agreement, a national scale model was needed.
“We are the only country that has done this so far. We have a national scale model covering the entire forest”.
He outlined the development and central elements of the LCDS in which forest carbon is a commodity which Guyana wanted to establish as a commodity which could be traded because it has a value to the world.
He stressed that national acceptance of LCDS was “very important for us” and referred to the nationwide three-month consultation on the draft with stakeholders and others.
“We are going out to tender for an internationally replicable Monitoring Reporting and Verification (MRV) system that will use remote sensing devices, satellite imagery to identifying any change of carbon stocks in our forests. With those techniques we will be able to assess whether the country performs in accordance with the agreement”, the President said.
He recalled the signing last month of the memorandum of understanding with Norway which will provide US$250M to support the LCDS over the next five years.
Whether there is financing or not in Copenhagen, Guyana already has an MOU with Norway which Mr. Jagdeo said was built on the work done in the Informal Working Group after the G20 meeting in London in April this year.
“Out of that work that we started, 37 countries have now developed a model which says that for US$5 billion annually over the next five years we can cut deforestation rates by 25 per cent around the world – the largest single climate change abatement action anywhere in the world”, he stated.
“When we get to Copenhagen, we can say we have dealt with all the issues (related to forestry)…through our model…”, the President said.
Senior lecturer in the St. Augustine’s Institute of International Relations, Dr. Mark Kirton, said he was impressed by the LCDS which Guyana is using as its most important model.
On the sidelines of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting which ended in Trinidad Sunday, Mr. Jagdeo was interviewed by Hardtalk, the BBC flagship news programme on its World Service TV.
After Monday’s lecture, he was also interviewed by CNC 3 TV from Trinidad and Tobago