Guyana established a commitment to work towards the reduction of the negative impacts of climate change by becoming a signatory to the UNFCCC in 1992, then ratifying the Convention on 17th November, 1994 and acceding to the KP on 5thAugust, 2003.
The country has taken proactive steps to support the implementation of the Convention. To enable effective coordination and implementation of climate change initiatives, the Office of Climate Change (OCC) was established within the Office of the President in 2009.
Guyana prepared its Initial and Second National Communication to the UNFCCC in 2002 and 2012 respectively. The preparation of the Third National Communication has been initiated. These reports provide a general status of key aspects related to climate change in Guyana including: an inventory of Greenhouse Gas (GhG), climate change vulnerability assessments, programmes containing measures to facilitate adequate adaptation and mitigation to climate change, an analysis of measures for GhG abatement and information related to the implementation of the UNFCCC.
Several other key studies, research and plans were prepared to address specific areas related to climate change.
Many sectors in the country have already begun to integrate policies, legislations and programs in line with addressing climate change. Some also have developed specific climate change initiatives. Guyana works along with many countries, institutes and groups to support capacity building for adaptation and mitigation to climate change. For example on November 9th, 2009 a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Governments of Norway and Guyana was signed regarding cooperation on issues related to the fight against climate change, in particular those concerning Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation Plus (REDD+). Norway has committed to providing Guyana up to USD 250 million to 2015, depending on Guyana’s delivery of results as measured against two sets of indicators.
Guyana has also made considerable progress internationally in negotiating its position on climate change through the UN and other major processes. Guyana has played a key role in the UNFCCC negotiations on REDD+, as well as in the interim REDD+ Partnerships. The country also works along with negotiating groups such as the Coalition for Rainforest Nations and the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS).
The most significant step taken to address climate change in Guyana is the development and implementation of the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) which was launched in June 2009. The Strategy outlines Guyana’s approach to promoting economic development while at the same time addressing the issues associated with climate change. It articulates the country’s vision to transition towards a low carbon, green economy and provides the over-arching framework for
achieving Guyana’s long-term developmental goals, using nationally appropriate green growth strategies to achieve this transition.
Guyana has played and continues to play an important role in the global effort to combat climate change. Its LCDS and agreement with Norway have gained international recognition, and it is a leading example to other developing countries in demonstrating that the creation of a low carbon, climate‐resilient economy is possible, and serves as an example to other forest countries of how the world’s forests can be conserved without sacrificing the development aspirations of those who live in them.