Guyana’s future lies in green economic growth

By Gerald V. Paul

Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo called green growth the key to a sustainable economy at a business forum. Photo by Gerald V. Paul
Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo called green growth the key to a sustainable economy at a business forum.
Photo by Gerald V. Paul

Eyesers, do you know that saving forests offers a new route to alleviating hunger and malnutrition, promoting development and tackling climate change?

You do? Cool.

By the way, Guyana’s former president and Champion of the Earth (UN, 2010), Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, delivered a keynote address at a business forum last Friday, asserting that green growth is the way forward to build sustainable sectors and economies.

Jagdeo who spent more than 10 years as a formidable presence on the world stage working to avert the worst consequences of climate change was addressing a distinguished audience on the theme A Green Economy – Opportunities for the Private Sector.

The Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA) Ltd. noted Jagdeo was described in 2010 by the chairman of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change Dr Rajendra K. Pachauri as “one of perhaps half a dozen heads of government who truly understand the issue.” This was after he created and implemented in Guyana the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS).

Time magazine named Jagdeo one of its Heroes of the Environment and he has consistently been appointed to hold global leadership positions in the areas of sustainable development, green growth and climate change.

He stressed that developed countries are pushing for green growth largely because they are using polluting tools of industrialization in order to increase their GDP. He noted at the same time they want “to deny developing countries that produce less carbon than them the same tools.

“I fought too many years to remove conditions on the developing world to now subscribe to and support a new set of conditions surrounding green economy. But I am arguing to seize opportunities when they come along and we in Guyana can do so,” Jagdeo said.

Guyana President Donald Ramotar addressed the nation on the Guyana-Norway and Low Carbon Development Strategy update:

“Norway will pay Guyana US$35 million for the global climate services provided by our forest during 2012. The latest payment will bring our total funds earned under the partnership to US$ 150 million,” Ramotar said.

He said they have spent five years building the foundations of a genuinely low carbon economy.

“We are maintaining 99.5% of our forest and showing the world that it is possible to do this while simultaneously generating jobs and economic growth from sustainable forestry and mining practices.”

Ramotar suggested that the strategy is grounded in recognition that climate change is a clear expression of inequality and injustice – as a problem primarily caused by rich countries but whose negative impact is felt primarily by poor countries.

“Over 11,000 Amerindian homes have electricity for the first time, powered by solar units. Low carbon industries are growing fast – ecotourism in the Rupununi is growing by 20% a year, our business process outsourcing sector has more than doubled employment in less than five years, and we are seeing innovative initiatives in agricultural development,” Ramotar said.

He said they can become the world’s most inclusive digital society as 90,000 vulnerable households gain access to computers and training. Also, they are working with financial institutions to stimulate the creation of 2,200 low carbon jobs over three years in small businesses and vulnerable communities.

“It is the right of all Guyanese, today and in generations to come, to have well-managed forests and affordable, clean energy. As the president of Guyana I stand firm in my resolve to ensure that you realize this right, because there is no such thing as PPP electricity, or opposition electricity. Nor is there such a thing as PPP forests,” Ramotar said.

He encouraged Guyanese to “leave those who seek to destroy our development behind us. Let’s keep working to build a new economy and let’s prove to the international community that countries from the developing world can lead the way to global solutions.”

Contact Gerald V. Paul at

Gerald V. Paul
Gerald V. Paul