Guyana’s Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo addressing a gathering in Delhi on World Sustainability emphasised the need for compensation to countries to preserve their forests in order to help protect the earth from climate change.
The VP made that point delivered the keynote address on Visionary Leadership for Mainstreaming Sustainable Development and Climate Resilience at World Sustainable Development Summit 2023 held in New Delhi, India on Wednesday morning February 22.
He said countries must avoid the extremes that often characterise global debate on the issue. He said that nature should be preserved regardless of its impact on human beings but countries must be allowed to exploit their natural resources.
“I believe in the search for solutions somewhere in between those two extremes, there lies a lot of the solutions and answers that we are looking for”, the Guyana VP told the audience.
Jagdeo said incentives and support should be provided to help countries sustainably develop their natural resources, particularly forests. “This is important since forests are needed to help slow the ongoing climate crisis that causes intensified disasters like rising sea-levels and flooding”.
He warned that deforestation would cause about 15 to 18 per cent of global greenhouse gases with the largest emissions coming from the United States of America, China, India and Russia.
“Clearly, it’s important that we find the solution to this nature-based problem of deforestation. The forest can remove nearly 10 gigatons of (carbon dioxide) equivalent every year by 2050. It could provide more than 25 per cent of the solution to keep us on a 1.5 trajectory by 2030. So, clearly, the case has been made that forests are important both for climate solutions leaving out even its impact on their biodiversity and ecosystem preservation”.
The Vice President lamented that the world still believes that the forest can be preserved by philanthropy. “The world believes that this could be achieved cheap (but) I believe you have the outcompete alternate use of the forests because forests are living beings, and people rely on them for livelihood. Countries rely on them for development, and the only way you can preserve them, in the long run, is to outcompete the alternate use of these forests. That means you have to create a system of incentives to do so”.
The VP touted Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) model that he said was first implemented in 2009 when he was President. The President Irfaan Ali-led administrated has continued this plan, allowing Guyana to sustainably leverage its natural resources for national development. Guyana receives payments to keep protecting its forests through the sale of carbon credits. Several countries and corporations have signed on to Guyana’s LCDS strategy to preserve its forests and buying carbon credits. Norway is a huge supporter of Guyana’s LCDS strategy.
Dr. Jagdeo explained that monies will be used mainly to deal with climate adaptation and issues such as water management that impact the lives of Guyanese. He appealed for more countries and global bodies to support Guyana’s LCDS and other countries’ plans to preserve forests.