Guyana has made significant strides in recent years towards establishing democratic governance, social peace, and development by revisiting its politics and overhauling the economy. Key achievements include: reaching agreement on comprehensive government reforms and their introduction. UNDP supports these efforts as well as those made by all stakeholders to encourage more open dialogue, ensure that all socio-economic groups are actively engaged with development initiatives so that they can draw benefit from them.
A new era of political dialogue and peaceful political campaigning contributed to peaceful elections in August 2006. And in the wake of this new climate of peace and stability, Guyana went on to successfully host the Rio Group Summit, the 2007 Cricket World Cup as well as CARIFESTA 2008.
UNDP has supported Guyana through the process of national and regional elections for a number of years. The organization has, for example, established a Parliamentary Resource Centre and developed peace-building awareness within the community.
UNDP also coordinates and facilitates donor participation in the democratic process.
As part of the government’s drive to improve security, governance, mediation and social cohesion, a democratic governance programme has been developed.
The programme has created strong partnerships across a number of entities including: parliament, the judiciary, regional and neighbourhood democratic councils, the University of Guyana, political parties, civil society, the media, religious bodies, the private sector and trade unions. Through these partnerships, capacity is being built to peacefully resolve disputes. Increased engagement is a key feature of the programme and a rolling consultation exercise with local communities is planned. It is expected that these partnerships will contribute significantly to Guyana’s socio-economic development in the short to long term.
The democratic governance programme has achieved the following:
- Trained approximately 3,000 people in all regions of Guyana as community peace facilitators;
- Held Conflict Transformation workshops for leaders of two Regional Democratic Councils (RDCs) and 30 Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (NDCs);
- Built the capacity of 45 youth leaders from three regions to participate in the political process;
- Implemented 44 community livelihood projects across 5 regions and in around 50 neighbourhoods;
- Contributed to the first peaceful elections to be held in Guyana for 50 years;
- Held 300 multi stakeholder forums across all regions and 65 NDCs;
- Trained approximately 50 police officers, magistrates and judges on human rights, dispute resolution and conflict transformation;
- Launched the largest national United Nations Volunteer programme in the Latin American and Caribbean region by recruiting 45 young people to stimulate the involvement of young people in peace-building initiatives and governance.
Plans for the future
UNDP is committed to supporting the people of Guyana to improve the governance landscape. In particular, UNDP will support future electoral processes and will continue to coordinate donor inputs and external aid.
In the immediate future, UNDP will work with government and non-government entities to:
- Train and recruit 100 national United Nations volunteers as community youth facilitators and deploy them in governmental and selected non-governmental organisations and agencies;
- Recruit 300 young people, and in particular females, to participate in existing government technical and vocational skills training programmes, to help them to acquire training in: civic education, conflict management, negotiation, and interpersonal skills;
- Work with key government ministries and the private sector to create jobs for 100 young people
- Initiate micro-credit programmes and offer 100 Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) graduates access to credit to enable them to start their own micro-businesses, issue 50 micro-loans to young entrepreneurs and provide entrepreneurial/business management training;
- Set up, in partnership with civil society organizations, sports facilities, Neighbourhood Democratic Councils and Regional Democratic Councils programmes to promote culture, support community initiatives and preserve peace;
- Refurbish 12 sports grounds – with the assistance of the Ministry of Culture Youth and Sports (MCYS) – to encourage conflict management initiatives through sport in target communities;
- Support the MCYS to draft new sports and youth plans (to be implemented by the youth and sports division of the ministry);
- Develop a programme to build the capacity of the MCYS and the Ministry of Education to set up a school-based conflict resolution and social cohesion programme;
- Conduct a community mapping exercise to explore existing resources and structures that could aid conflict prevention and resolution work;
- Undertake security and safety assessments in target communities to determine issues and concerns;
- Complete ‘Train the Trainer’ programmes in target communities to establish sustainable training capacity in conflict prevention and resolution;
- Continue to support GECOM’s Media Monitoring Unit (MMU) with updates to the media code of conduct and monitor local media;
- Provide elections support to GECOM during local government, national and regional elections; and
- Provide support to Parliament during its planned refurbishment of resource center and library facilities.