EXPERT GROUPS

The Green State Development Strategy is structured into 7 thematic groups :

  • Green and Inclusive Structural Transformation
  • Sustainable Management of Natural Resources and Environmental Services
  • Energy Transition to Renewable Energy
  • Resilient Infrastrcture and Spatial Development
  • Human Development and Well-Being
  • Governance and Institutional Pillars
  • International Cooperation, Trade and Investment

To be able to work efficiently on the research and establishment of each theme, the GSDS has requested inputs and contributions from a range of stakeholders in the form of seven Multi-Stakeholder Expert Groups (MSEG).

Each of the seven Multi-Stakeholder Expert Groups will be comprised of individuals who have been nominated to represent their institution/organization.

Acting on behalf of their interest group, the members of the Expert Group will support the development of the GSDS by undertaking actions to gather their institutional constituent’s inputs and ensure that they are reflected in the GSDS. Furthermore, they will advise the GSDS Secretariat on matters relevant to the development of the strategy.

Bearing in mind that the Government of Guyana, through the Department of Environment in the Ministry of the Presidency, is the governing body for the implementation of the GSDS; the MSEG will have the following functions:

  1. Provide information at the request of the GSDS Secretariat, contributing to the identification of synergies and opportunities for cooperation, as well as the identification of gaps.
  2. Provide support and input in the consultation process, including participating in the specific meetings of the Thematic Expert Group and, when possible, in the consultations held in the administrative regions of the country.
  3. Periodically review the GSDS draft at the request of the GSDS Secretariat. These inputs will inform the elaboration of the strategy
  4. Support the outreach and awareness raising activities of the GSDS, contributing to a better understanding and the buy- in of a Green State among all Guyanese. These materials will be provided by the GSDS Secretariat.

GREEN AND INCLUSIVE STRUCTURAL TRANSFORMATION.

A green and inclusive structural transformation requires two different but closely interlinked shifts.

The first is the transition to a more diversified economy that leans toward higher value added goods and services,greater resource productivity, improved environmental services and resilience to minimise vulnerability to external shocks. These can include environmental degradation and climate change,which present further challenges to stable and inclusive growth.

The second shift is structural in its approach to national development. Do-No-Harm approaches, participatory and inclusive processes and social cohesion principles will require both improvements to and a reduced reliance ontraditional sectors,which act as the key drivers of this economic transformation whose ultimate goal is to address and redress all types of inequalities in Guyana and promote a peaceful and resilient society.

Such a green,inclusive and population-centred transformation of Guyana’s productive sectors must be at the heart of the Green State Development Strategy. Strategic economic processes (e.g. national planning, budgeting, financing, procurement) will have to be revamped with a civilian focus.

This transformation is essential for driving the extended productivity gains associated with rapid growth, and affording higher income levels. It is also essential for ensuring that sufficient social and environmental safeguards are in place so that the benefits of growth are manifest in improved working conditions, opportunities and income for all Guyanese.

Strategy for achieving green and inclusive structural transformation:

The Expert Group will ensure that a strategic approach be adopted to address the structural transformation of Guyana’s economy into a green and inclusive one will recognise the economic value of the extractive sectors, instituting measures to ensure their environmental sustainability while facilitating new economic growth from a more diverse set of inclusive, green and high value-adding sectors.

Emphasis will be placed on a number of areas which will contribute to facilitating a shift from a heavyreliance on a commodities-dependent productive base to one that is more diversified, value-adding, inclusive and green:

  • Resource extraction for sustainable development
  • Sustainable, productive, climate-resilient and diversified agriculture
  • Green, inclusive, high value-addingindustrial development
  • Enabling businesss environment

SUSTAINABLE MANAGEMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES & ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES.

A critical element of the Green State Development Strategy is the sustainable management of natural resources and expansion of environmental services, especially when envisioning economic development and expansion to new productive sectors.

Guyana has a vast and diverse geographical distribution that includes an abundance of tropical rain forests and fertile lands, terrestrial biodiversity, fresh water, coastal and marine resources, and non-renewable resources including diversified mineral deposits and petroleum.These natural resources contribute to Guyana’s economy and generate indispensable export income either as commodities such as timber and minerals, as inputs to agricultural commodity production (e.g. soil and water), or as biodiversity-based tourism or biological resources (e.g. for cosmetics or pharmaceuticals), including payment for ecosystem services currently being developed under Guyana’s REDD+ platform. They also serve as sources of domestic energy such as hydro, solar, bio-mass and petroleum.

Deforestation, biodiversity loss, land degradation, and water stress and contamination have debilitating effects on the economic and social well-being of any country.

Guyana’s natural resources can provide environmental benefits to the local and global population, including fresh air, clean water and food, natural coastal and flood protection, climate regulation, and economic productivity.

Therefore, a strategic approach will be adopted to address the protection and sustainable use of natural resources and ensure that Guyana, as a whole, will benefit from efforts to maintain and increase the global contribution of Guyana's ecosystem services.

Strategy for achieving the sustainable management of natural resources and the expansion of environmental services:

The Expert Group will focus on five core strategic areas to achieve protection, restoration and sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems:

  • Land use planning and natural resource management systems
  • Sustainable agriculture
  • Sustainable forest management - logging and non-timber forest product practices
  • Fresh water management
  • Traditional knowledge and practices

They will also focus on two core strategic areas in order to achieve protection, restoration and sustainable use of coastal and marine resources:

  • Coastal ecosystems services
  • Fisheries management

ENERGY TRANSITION TO RENEWABLE ENERGY.

Energy is critical to the structural transformation of Guyana's economy. Therefore, GSDS will put significant emphasis on ensuring the full delivery of a modernised energy sector, with an increased mix of clean and renewable resources.

Reliable and affordable energy services, such as lighting, heating, cooking and electricity-based consumer goods all contribute to the population’s well-being, whether through direct consumption or the long-term human development they often enable (e.g. through a healthier living environment, or easier learning environment).

Secure energy services at a reasonable cost are also crucial to both the viability and productivity of higher value-addingeconomic activities, whether in the industrial, agricultural or service sectors.

Finally, renewable and sustainable sources of energy are also crucial to reducing Guyana’s dependence onfuel imports, to preserving natural patrimony, and to fulfilling its contribution to global climate change mitigation.

Strategy for achieving modernisation of the energy sector in Guyana and increasing the energy mix with clean and renewable resources:

In order to achieve the desired transformation, the GSDS through the support of the Expert Group will emphasise four core strategic areas:

  • Acheiving a transition to 100% renewable energy in the power sector
  • Acheiving affordable, reliable and clean energy services for all
  • Ensuring security and quality of energy for business growth
  • Increasing energy efficiency
*Primary energy sources (e.g. fuels), electricity generation, the elcetricity transmission and distribution grids, efficiency in the use of electricity, and systems for the provision of cooling, heating, and cooking are prioritised - Efficiency in transport vehicles and efficiency of the built environment are considered below strategic areas related to infrastructure.*

RESILIENT INFRASTRUCTURE AND SPATIAL DEVELOPMENT.

Guyana’s non-urban infrastructure, including coastal protection and road and rail transport connections to the hinterland and between coastal towns, is a vital cornerstone of the green transition.

Ensuring that Guyana can continue its green transition and achieve economic prosperity, well-functioning and reliable infrastructure that can support trade flows and travel, and protect economic assets and human settlements from natural catastrophes, is paramount. It is also critical to sustain urbanisation and the absorption of labour from agriculture and mining into higher value-added sectors located in coastal towns, and ensure reliable and fast links to Guyana’s rural areas and hinterland.

Given that 90% of Guyana's population are based along the coastal zone (2.5m below mean high tide) it is of key importance to meet the need for more resilient and robust infrastructure along the coast and into the hinterland.

Urban areas are also currently facing major challenges to their internal infrastructure, further affecting their resilience to environmental hazards. All urban centres are faced with poor quality road networks, drainage and sewage systems, and waste collection management services. Well-designed and managed urban areas will be critical to improving resilience to climate and other natrual disasters, and to reducing local pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. They can also accelerate the transition to centres for education and skills training, and as breeding grounds for entrepreneurship and knowledge exchange, which are key in the success of this process.

Strategy for achieving resilient infrastructure and spatial development:

The GSDS will emphasise two core strategic areas, through the support of the Expert Group, to ensure more resilient and robust infrastructure along the coast:

  • Robust and resilient (non-urban) transport infrastructure
  • Coastal protection infrastructure and systems
*Both of these have an important inter-relationship with the protection and sustainable use of coastal eco-systems, and should be developed in tandem with that strategic area*

To meet the country's goals for urban settlements, and achieve the desired improvements in growth, well-being and sustaiability, the GSDS will emphasise three core strategic areas through the support of the Expert Group:

  • Urban land-use regulation and infrastructure development
  • Municipal management and service operations
  • Municipal finances and financing capacity

HUMAN DEVELOPMENT AND WELL-BEING.

Health, social protectionand education are essential development goals in themselves, and critical to promoting sustained and inclusive growth.They are deeply interconnected with economic, social and environmental aspects of sustainable development

Availability of health and social services is an integral and imperative element of empowering the poor and people in vulnerable situations, improving their standards of living, eliminating obstacles to opportunity, and augmenting their productive capacity. It has heightened relevance for children and adolescents

Healthy, well-protected young people are enabled to more fully develop their human potential, laying the ground work for robust health into adulthood, for improved productivity and income, and for greater ability to drive positive change across society. Therefore, ensuring adequate attention to health and social protectionand good quality of education is critical for the Green State Development Strategy.

Discernible progress has been made in recent years. Guyanese are living longer, with life expectancy at birth increasing from 63 years in 1998 to 67 years in 2010, as well as increased child survival rates. The 2011 MDG Progress Report found that 2015 targets for nutrition and child health have already been achieved, and thecountryis on track to achieve national targets in education, water and sanitation and HIV/AIDS.

Nevertheless, there remain a number of opportunities for further progress.The burden of non-communicable diseases has grown at an alarming rate in recent years, driven mainly by social and lifestyle risk factors, such as tobacco use, alcoholabuse, physical inactivity, and unhealthy diets.

Strategy for ensuring adequate attention to health, social protection and a good quality education:

To allow the Expert Group to support health and social protection the GSDS will incorporate four main strategic areas:

  • Healthcare treatment
  • Preventive care and health promotion
  • Protection against social ills, with a focus on vulnerable groups
  • Empowering youth and indigenous people

In regards to access to, and quality of, education the GSDS plans to address this along with the promotion of green skills. To do this the GSDS, with the help of the Expert Group, will incorporate five broad strategic areas:

  • Access to quality education and training facilities
  • Availability and quality of teaching and school management personnel
  • Curriculum, instructional tools and methods
  • Ongoing education, training and public information programmes
  • Performance monitoring and accountability system, including parental participation

GOVERNANCE AND INSTITUTIONAL PILLARS.

Good governance is an essential precondition for achieving the targets of Guyana’s Green State Development Strategy and harnessing full green growth potential.

Guyana’s particular ethnic composition and socio-economic complexities have so far been framed as an obstacle rather than an enabler of inclusive development. The GSDS will seek to reverse this negative construction and promote a development paradigm that promotes social cohesion.

The institutional foundations need to analyse and identify the necessary changes/reforms to ensure the enabling conditions to bolster investment in and management of green growth processes. This includes private investors who must be able to rely on the rule of law, market governance and ease of doing business for investment in clean energy and activities that can kick-start a green and inclusive structural transformation of the economy, as well as the existence of government bodies that can accurately monitor and actively manage the sustainable management of forests, land and water resources.

More importantly, good governance is crucial to ensure social inclusion, respect for human rights and promotion of equal opportunities for all.

Furthermore, to achieve a Green State, Guyana must be positioned as a knowledge-based society; where citizens have ready access to Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). Knowledge management with adequate availability and communication of information on the green development transition is a critical part of the GSDS to ensure long-term quittable societal outcomes and full buy-in of all relevant stakeholders.

The Green State Development Strategy should be seen as a compact with the people of Guyana and other key stakeholders.

Strategy for achieving good governance and institutional pillars:

For this theme, two strategic areas have been proposed to our Expert Group and will be explored and further developed during consultations:

  • Transparency, Good Governance and Rule of Law
  • Knowledge Management, Information and Communications

INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION, TRADE AND INVESTMENT.

International cooperation is a key component of the GSDS, due to the interlinked nature of Guyana’s natural assets and economy.

Guyana shares land and marine boundaries with a number of countries as well as common transboundary ecosystems which require the development and implementation of common strategies and good regional and international cooperation.

The Guyana Shield is a major transboundary ecosystem that is one of the largest blocks of primary tropical forest in the world and an eco-region with very high biodiversity levels. Given the extensive rainforest of the Guyana Shield and the role it plays in water regulation of Amazon and Orinoco basins, Guyana as part of that eco-region has a critical role to play in mitigating climate change through sustainable management of ecosystems.

As a Caribbean Community State and one of the founding members of the Caribbean Community, commonly referred to as “the bread basket of the Region”, Guyana has a central role to play in fostering cooperation and development in the Caribbean Region, such as contributing to the Caribbean Region’s Food Security.

However, to fully realise this potential, it will require investment from other countries in the region and beyond.

One of the objectives of the GSDS is to create an enabling environment for such investment to occur. Success will position Guyana as a leader in ensuring that the environmental dimensions contained in the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas Including the CARICOM Single Market and Economy are further developed and adopted by its regional partners.

Guyana’s abundant natural resources across key economic sectors – agriculture, fisheries, forestry, tourism, manufacturing and renewable energy- indicate that is well placed to expand both trade and investment.

The objectives of sustainable development must guide Guyana’s trade and investment policy in order to fully take into account the human, cultural, economic, social, health and environmental best interests of Guyana and by extension the Member States of the Caribbean Communityas markets increasingly open to international customers.

Strategy for enhancing international cooperation, trade and investment:

The strategic areas that the Expert Group will focus on for enhancing international cooperation, trade and investment are:

  • Taking the lead in biodiversity conservation within the context of the Decision of the Committee on Trade and Economic Development (COTED) of the Caribbean Community at the Twenty Fifth Special Meeting of COTED in April of 2008 which mandated the development of the Community Environment and Natural Resources Policy Framework.
  • Work conscientiously within the parameters agreed with the United Nations to settle all outstanding land and marine border issues. In the case of the border controversy between Venezuela and Guyana, the United Nations has given the two countries one more year to resolve the matter through mediation.
  • As a member of the United Nations, Guyana will continue to adhere to the principles which underpin the United Nations, including, inter alia, its Charter and the Human Rights Treaties to which it is a party. Guyana also adheres to all the instruments adopted by the United Nations on environment and sustainable development and in particular the instruments on the sustainable development of Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

In International Trade, the following actions will be carried out:

  • Strengthen the capacity to adhere to regional and international environmental, health and safety standards, including, sanitary and phytosanitary measures. This includes technical assistance to producers to meet relevant standards (which would increase competitiveness and access to international markets) as well as the development and/or improvement of sustainable goods and services.
  • Strengthen plant health capabilities, in particular monitoring at the port as a means of minimizing risk to agriculture and biodiversity.
  • Support existing and new exporters to access new international markets for both traditional and non-traditional products and identify, communicate with and reach sound and fair agreements with international suppliers.