Low Carbon Development Strategy (Guyana)
Guyana's Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) was launched in June 2009 and outlines Guyana's path to a low carbon economy. The document sets out Guyana’s strategy to forge a new low carbon economy over the coming decade. It identifies the eight priorities that will be the initial focus of LCDS implementation in 2010 and 2011, gives an outline of the priorities for the period 2012-2015, and sets out the framework for further consultation and strategy development on Guyana’s long-term low carbon development.
The third and current version of the LCDS incorporates further feedback from national stakeholders and input based on the outcomes of the Copenhagen Conference and other international processes. Given the continued absence of a UNFCCC REDD+ mechanism, the strategy assesses status against the conditions under which Guyana might participate in REDD+ for an Interim Period (2010 – 2015).
The Low-Carbon Development Strategy has led to the introduction of a number of new institutions related to management and coordination of the strategy. The Office of Climate Change is the key institution for coordinating responsibility for ongoing consultations and stakeholder engagement. The Multi-Stakeholder Steering Committee comprising members of government agencies, NGOs and civil society was implemented to oversee consultation and awareness processes. The Project Management Office situated within the Office of the President has responsibility for coordinating public and private agencies to implement critical projects under the LCDS.
Stakeholder engagement and participation
Consultation on the first draft of the LCDS took place in June, July, August and September 2009, along with awareness and outreach activities utilizing the local media and internet.
The second draft was released for a further three-month review period, with the Multi-Stakeholder Steering Committee and the National Assembly initiating this review in the first half of December 2009.
At the request of the Government of Guyana, the Government of Norway engaged the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) to provide independent advice to assist the consultation process.
The IIED reported: “The Independent Monitoring Team finds that the process of multi-stakeholder consultation surrounding Guyana’s LCDS has broadly followed principles derived from international best practice and has met these criteria." But reported limitations in terms of non-engagement with oppostion parties, mechansism of feedback with remote communities, and the limited period of three months for review.
In alignment with the principles of free, prior and informed consent, Amerindian communities will not be required to participate in REDD+ unless they choose to do so, and no deadline will be set for whether and how they can “opt in” to REDD+ and the LCDS.
Land tenure arrangements and carbon rights
The LCDS, and the related agreement with Norway relates in the first instance to State owned lands (State forest estate and forested State Lands). Amerindian lands which are owned communally will have the option to 'opt-in' to the process and receive finance commensurate to their land area from the agreement with Norway. Logging and mining concessionaires will be allowed to continue but are required to operate under a tightened regulatory regime.
Under the LCDS both forestry and mining activities will be allowed to continue but under a tighter regulatory regime, the details of which are still to be determined. A crucial element of the LCDS is strengthening capacity of the regulatory agencies of the GFC, GGMC and the EPA. The role of payments for those who are negatively affected by the implementation of the LCDS is left open at this stage.
The reference level set for the LCDS and the related MOU is set using a combined reference methodology. This is an average of the mean 2000-2009 deforestation rate in Guyana (0.03%), and the mean 2005-2009 rate in developing countries with deforestation (0.52%). This is equates to a reference level of 0.275%, although there is an explicit maximum deforestation level of 0.1% built into the agreement above which no payments are made.
In the absence of UNFCCC mandated safeguards projects under the LCDS will be implemented by the partner agencies of the GRIF, namely the IDB and the UNDP, and will thus follow their existing environmental and social safeguards.
Guyana intends to implement the worlds’ first national scale REDD+ MRV system, starting in 2010. This will provide the basis for reporting in accordance with the principles and procedures of estimation and reporting of carbon emissions and removals at the national level as specified by the IPCC Good Practice Guidelines and Guidance for Reporting on the international level. The development of this system is outlined in the MRV system roadmap.