Authorities in Guyana are paying close attention to the demands that the emerging oil and gas industry will create for urban infrastructure services and are moving to develop a plan of action with the support of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
This is according to Chief Development Planner at the Central Housing & Planning Authority (CH&PA), Germene Stewart.
Steward was speaking at the launching of a report on Climate Resilience Support for Adequate Housing and Urban Accessibility Programme. The event took place on Tuesday at Cara Lodge, Quamina Street, Georgetown.
“Given Guyana’s recent discovery of oil reserves, Georgetown and surrounding areas are expected to undergo fast urban growth putting additional pressures on existing urban infrastructure services and therefore the cost of adaptation could be staggering for Guyana.”
In this context, she said, the purpose of the study is to provide the CH&PA with relevant data of “the vulnerability of greater Georgetown and surrounding areas, so we can developed locally response plans for housing, transport and sea defense, among other areas where such information will be useful.”
The study will focused on three major areas; climate change mitigation assessment, disaster risk and climate change vulnerability assessment, and urban growth study.
Lead Consultant on the Project, Charlie Dixon, explained that the core objective of the study is to combat the vulnerabilities the country faces, while taking into consideration the vast economic transformation that is about to take place.
He told stakeholders that, “The results from the study will directly inform what will happen in the next 5-10 years in Georgetown and the standards of housing development.”
Dixon explained further that, “The mitigation assessment for the first time produces a greenhouse gas inventory at the city scale so it allows the Government to understand how much emissions Georgetown produces and what are the key sectors and what is really driving and then maybe how you think about reducing those.”
He said with the developments of key sectors such as oil and gas, it is imperative for the housing sector to also shape programmes and policies in line with that development. Dixon said it is even more important that a climate resilient plan is in place.
“The climate change vulnerability assessment provides quantitative understanding and actual evidence of which areas around Georgetown are most affected by flooding and the likely scale of the damage that it could actually produce in the future”, Dixon added.
The “Climate Resilience Support for Adequate Housing and Urban Accessibility Programme” is being supported and funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).