The OCC, which falls under the purview of the Ministry of the Presidency (MoTP), over the past two years, has been making great strides in advancing President Granger’s ‘green’ agenda through tangible, transformative initiatives at both the community and national levels. Head of the Office, Ms. Janelle Christian in a recent interview said the OCC in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is in the early stage of a US $1.6M programme, known as Mainstreaming Low Emissions Technology in Guyana. The funding is being secured through the Global Environment Facility.
She said, “there will be a component specifically that would be looking at to pilot, co-finance small projects under this initiative… and beyond all of that broadly, not just specifically for the work that the Office of Climate Change would be doing but for all sectors, we have engaged, the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) to position ourselves access the resources of the Green Climate Fund.”
Earlier this month, the Office opened a three-day workshop, which focused on building the capacity of community leaders and private and public sector stakeholders to apply and access funding from the Green Climate Fund (GCF) for projects which promote low emission and climate resilience development.
The Green Climate Fund was set up in 2010 at the 16th Conference of Parties in Cancun, Mexico and is now the world’s largest dedicated climate fund, which is intended to be the centerpiece of the global efforts to mobilise $100 billion per year in climate finance by 2020. As of March 2017, the GCF has raised the equivalent of US $10.3 billion in pledges and Guyana has received US $300,000. Ms. Christian, in her remarks at the workshop, said that for Guyana, the Ministry of the Presidency has been appointed to act as the GCF’s National Designated Authority (NDA). The NDA plays a crucial role in facilitating, supporting and creating an enabling environment for GCF processes within the country. She also noted that various barriers currently hinder Guyana’s NDA at effectively undertaking its fund-related responsibilities, including low levels of awareness and understanding among NDA personnel and their respective roles and responsibilities in relation to Guyana’s engagement with the GCF.
“It is against this background that the Government of Guyana and the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) has received funding from the GCF and has commissioned to implement the project ‘GCF Readiness Preparation Support Project for the Enhancement of Guyana’s capacity to access and deliver international climate finance through targeted institutional strengthening,” she said.
The workshop included participants from the National Toshaos Council, the Guyana Forestry Commission, the Guyanese Organisation of Indigenous People’s, the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission, the Project Management Office, the Private Sector Commission, the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission, among other agencies and organisations.
Senior Economic and Financial Analyst at the Ministry of Finance, Dr. Valas Gobin, said that he will be utilising his training and knowledge gained in his department to coordinate with other agencies, including public, private and non-governmental organisations, to guide them in the direction where they would be able to get a better understanding of accessing funds for the GCF. He said, “the Green Climate Fund is accessible to all agencies, both government and private, or at least that’s the model that they are working with so hopefully we can help to direct projects or advise agencies on how they can access these fund for specific projects that contribute to the country’s programme.”
The OCC also embarked on an awareness programme through its Communication department to keep the public informed about its efforts and what they as citizens can do to contribute to the green agenda. The first workshop with students was held at St. Gabriel’s Primary School and aimed at teaching the school children about the impacts and effects of climate change. Twenty schools were targeted for sessions in the first half of 2017. The programme caters for all levels of school institutions. It is a collaborative effort between the OCC and the Caribbean Youth Environment Network (CYEN).
In addition, on July 28-29, 2017, the Office hosted a series of workshops for Journalists and Government Public Relations Officers, which focused on the communication and dissemination of information on the country’s steps to mitigating and adapting to the effects of Climate Change. The sessions, which were hosted at the Cara Lodge Hotel, were conducted by the Government of Guyana in collaboration with the International Institute of Sustainable Development (IISD) with funding from the United States’ Department of State. It is part of the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) Communication Strategy development process. The NAP will be used as a means of identifying medium and long-term climate change adaptation needs. It will also seek to develop and implement strategies and actions to address those needs. The workshops, which laid the groundwork for a communications strategy for the NAP, trained government representatives in Climate Change communications skills while the other for Journalists focused on strategies for telling stories about climate change adaptation.
Notably, the Head of the OCC said that while it is costly, consultations with the public is top on the agenda. “I believe that it’s important that we hear from people and so we trust that we would have the necessary resources, whether by Government or through our partners to ensure that we are able to take consultations and engagements outside of Georgetown so that we could inform community representatives, members of the public, people who have a general interest,” she noted.