Months after the conclusion of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 26th Conference of Parties in Scotland, Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo told Guyanese that the developed world has ignored the demands of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), and that small nations must fend for themselves.
“Imagine they are not even providing funds for mitigation options like paying for reducing forest carbon, much less to provide funds at the scale for adaptation purposes. It’s not going to happen,” Dr. Jagdeo told a Tuesday gathering.
In November, President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali called out developing countries on past promises to deliver billions to low-income countries so they could implement climate adaptation and mitigation measures. He said that unkept promises are a recipe for disaster, and that the developed world must provide US$100 billion to make good on past promises.
“We cannot reverse the concentration of greenhouse gases and we are not the ones pumping out most of these greenhouse gases,” Dr. Jagdeo said on Tuesday. “We’re not the ones causing climate change, but we live in a global community, and we suffer because of the policies globally and we will suffer from climate change in the future.”
He reminded of the record-breaking rainfall and high tides experienced in Guyana last year, which caused flooding so severe and widespread that President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali called it the worst natural disaster in Guyana’s history.
Dr. Jagdeo said it was observed that the amount of rainfall that was previously observed to fall over the span of a month, can now be recorded from just one night of rain. He said when there is such intensity of rainfall, it overwhelms the country’s drainage, irrigation, and storage capacity.
For this reason, the Vice President was leading consultations at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre on strategic flood protection measures, part of the consultations necessary for the finalisation of the Low Carbon Development Strategy, a proposed national plan to guide Guyana’s sustainable development through 2030.
“We’ve laid out in the expanded LCDS, our adaptation needs and what we’re going to focus on,” Dr. Jagdeo said. “While we remain engaged with the global process, we in Guyana, we are not sitting on our hands.”
National consultations for the strategy were renewed following a meeting on Monday by a multi-stakeholder steering committee appointed by the President. Natural Resources Minister Vickram Bharrat told OilNOW on Tuesday even government ministers will be fanning out across the regions to solicit views on the document.
The document is supposed to be tabled in the National Assembly later in the year, for debate and a vote.