Though energy security and independence will be top of mind at the 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP27, Guyana has a golden opportunity to establish itself as a global leader on another critical but interlinked matter—food security.
This is according to Wazim Mowla, Assistant Director of the Caribbean Initiative at the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center.
In a recent column, Mowla said previous COPs have focused squarely on climate change, particularly on financing for climate mitigation and adaptation efforts. While these topics will again be at the forefront of COP27, he said it will be impossible for leaders not to turn their attention to food security. He said this subject will be front and centre of many discussions given its linkages to climate change and global impacts caused by the Russia-Ukraine war.
The Specialist on Caribbean Public Policy and Foreign Affairs said Guyana is already an established leader in the Caribbean on these issues. He said it can therefore catapult itself into a role as a global leader on food security and advance its own objectives.
Mowla reminded that Guyana is playing an active role in moving forward plans to decrease CARICOM’s food import bill by 25% by 2025. As part of these efforts, Guyana has secured the partnership and support of the United States by co-chairing the US-Caribbean Food Security Action Committee.
To complement the foregoing efforts, Mowla said Guyana should consider building a global coalition of other regions or countries facing similar challenges. He contended that many countries across the Caribbean, Africa and Asia are smaller states and simply do not have the same growing global presence as Guyana, and that said global coalition, if led by Guyana, can play two key roles.
First, it can be an added voice that can call for more concessional and blended financing for vulnerable countries that need to invest in new technologies that can help withstand weather events and changes that disrupt food production.
Secondly, Mowla said the coalition can help aggregate intellectual, financial, and technological resources among its membership.
Further, he said Guyana can bring added visibility to its own plans to re-energise its agricultural sector.
In closing, Mowla said no country has more potential or has more eyes on it than Guyana right now. As such, he said COP27 can be a turning point on food security for the producer of world-class, low-cost oil.