Energy and Environment
Access to affordable energy and environmental protection are essential for sustainable development. They are also essential to the poor who are most likely to be affected by environmental degradation or a lack of access to clean and affordable energy supplies. Energy and the environment are global issues, and efforts to tackle climate change, a loss of biodiversity or damage to the ozone layer are best tacked through joint action rather than by individual countries acting alone.
Protection for the sustainable management of biodiversity is important to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). And these goals are unlikely to succeed if environmental sustainability and access to energy services for the poor are not fully addressed.
UNDP aims to help the Government of Guyana to strengthen its capacity to address these challenges at national and community levels by seeking out and sharing best practice, providing innovative policy advice and linking partners through pilot projects so that poor people can have access to the help they need to build sustainable livelihoods.
Guyana occupies 214,970 km2 and boasts a rich biodiversity, thanks to its location at the edge of the Amazon basin. It is estimated that forestry covers 78% of the country.
Recently, Guyana launched its Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) with the aim of ‘Transforming Guyana’s Economy While Combating Climate Change’. The strategy seeks to stimulate investment, economic growth and job creation, as well as improve security and social services, protect vulnerable people and seek a solution to climate-change induced flooding. The strategy provides insights into how Guyana can stimulate the creation of low deforestation, low carbon and a climate resilient economy.
Through its energy and environmental programme, UNDP aims to help Guyana to responsibly manage and value its natural resources and ecology to maintain a healthy living environment for its people.
To address the challenges of managing natural resources, the programme focuses on interventions which:
- Enhance human capacity/capability;
- Strengthens organisations;
- Empowers community level organisations;
- Develops relationships with higher level institutions; and
- Uses technology to deliver sustainable livelihoods. The programme promotes linking economic activity with ecosystems and the wider society.
The following portfolio of projects focuses on energy and the environment:
- Mainstreaming of Sustainable Land Management
- Guiana Shield Facility
- Increasing Access to Energy in Hinterland Communities
- Enabling Activities for the Preparation of Guyana's Second National Communication to the UNFCCC
Guyana is well on its way to completing the second National Report to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the second and third National Reports to the CBD.
Piloted several renewable energy technologies in hinterland communities to provide power to improve livelihoods, particularly that of women. For example, a more efficient wood burning stove was identified and tested. Based on the hinterland communities’ recommendations, some modifications were made before the stoves were distributed to the communities.
Drafted several policies and regulations relating to the management of natural resources for access and benefit sharing and wildlife regulations.
Completed various plans - including a Strategic Plan for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – and management plans for the Amerindian lands in North Rupununi and Crabwood Forests. These plans are seen as critical to the sustainable use of natural and forest resources. Crabwood forests are used extensively by Amerindian women who source crabwood seeds there and use them to produce oil and soap.
Completed several critical studies such as an assessment of land degradation and a study of a key watershed area. Also prepared a watershed management plan and modeling.
Piloted the testing of payments for ecosystem services at Iwokrama.
Developed a remote sensing radar based monitoring system which could be replicated for future use in forest monitoring and disaster management.
Plans for the future
The 2008 assessment of the Government of Guyana/UNDP programme of cooperation, gave rise to strong recommendations to focus on establishing stronger links between the environment and poverty through sustainable livelihood approaches, and increased access to renewable energy for the most vulnerable groups.
For future programming, UNDP Guyana will focus on:
- Creating stronger poverty environment linkages for sustainable development.
- Mainstreaming biodiversity conservation in sectors such as mining and forestry and by increasing access to energy services by hinterland Amerindian communities
- Supporting the implementation of the Low Carbon Development Strategy. It is expected that the strategy will form the pillar of future climate change and other environmental initiatives in Guyana.