The Office of Climate Change (OCC), this afternoon, hosted a meeting with representatives from the United Nations Environment (UNE), the Ministry of Communities, and other key stakeholders to ensure that there is synergy in their collaboration on the project to transition Bartica into a model ‘green’ town.
The meeting aimed at generating feedback from stakeholders on the “Transitioning to National Energy Security: Bartica as a Model Green Town” project and was held at the Pegasus Hotel Guyana in Kingston.
In her address, Head of the OCC, Ms. Janelle Christian, said her office has been collaborating with the Mayor of Bartica specifically in the area of climate change mitigation. She said that the department has also been engaging with other partners to determine how to address, holistically, the development trajectory for Bartica, even as they elaborate the Green State Development Strategy (GSDS). “The team here, the visit this week, is to engage with the Ministry of Communities to ensure there is synergy in this work and the larger framework of community development in Guyana; to engage with the Ministry of Finance, principally, of course, they are involved in planning at the macro level. This initiative is also the ‘how’ of how we are going to transition once we have elaborated the GSDS to relook at existing policy strategies to ensure that they align with this whole concept of resource efficiency, certainly economy, equity and ensure that we capture the sustainable development pillars,” she said.
In this regard, Ms. Christian said that her office has been engaging with the UNE, which has made available some resources to test the concepts and the method “with respect to resource efficiency, sustainable development, equity as we look at the assessment of key economic activities in Bartica”. She said that this work adds value to the broader vision of the Ministry of Communities for the development of sustainable and cohesive communities.
“It will also inform the work that has started with respect to community profile, municipal and sustainable development plans, which is the work being advanced by the Ministry of Communities. So this mission is the first part of the work where the team will be looking at the three main economic activities in Bartica, examining the traditional linear model of development to look to take advantage of what the experts are now calling the residue, what we know as the waste, and having these business processing units being explored for new entrepreneurial avenues or what they call business opportunities so it is moving or seeing waste as a resource from waste to wealth,” Ms. Christian said.
UNE representative, Mr. Mateo Ledesma said this project, the first in a community of this size, and the first of its kind in the Caribbean, aims to “test some innovation and resource efficiency approaches in a small town … so for us it is very important as it will provide an understanding of wellbeing and social inclusiveness in communities.”
In this vein, UNE-Mexico Technical Consultant, Professor Emeritus, Dr. Carlos Scheel said that the expectations are for the project to go beyond sustainability by creating a region, which harmonises three key areas: the socio-political system, the economic system and the environment. “We have to go beyond this idea of the performing whether economic or social or environmental systems so the idea is how a system that engages the three dimensions,” he said.
Mayor of Bartica, Mr. Gifford Marshall welcomed the consultation noting that it is a very important step, not only for Bartica but for the country as a whole. “We look forward to hearing from [all stakeholders] because that will guide the process. As you’re aware Bartica is just the model so whatever happens here is expected to be transferred around the country and at the end of the day we ought to have a better country,” he said.
Ministry of Communities - Special Projects Officer, Mr. Roger Rogers also welcomed the initiative, which he said complements the technical priorities that the Ministry has identified for Bartica. “Our current public policy construct is one that is designed around sustainability as we build sustainable communities so we are looking forward to working with the team. We are looking forward to continuing our collaboration with the various stakeholders… as we make a collective effort to unfold the vision… which is to ensure that our economy is managed by [optimal] environmental and economic standards,” he said.
The OCC, which falls within the purview of the Ministry of the Presidency, has over the past two years been implementing two initiatives aimed at realising President David Granger’s vision to create a green economy throughout Guyana. Bartica will serve as the first model green town and the best practices that are derived from this initiative will be replicated in all towns across the country.
Representatives from the Department of Environment, GSDS Coordinating desk, Ministry of Business, the Tourism and Hospitality Association of Guyana, Institute of Applied Science and Technology, University of Guyana’s School of Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation and the Bureau of Statistics also attended the meeting.