$2.6B in carbon funds fueling development in Amerindian communities – Jagdeo

Monumental development projects are currently being undertaken by Village Councils in Amerindian communities. These projects are being funded with resources earned from the sale of 30 per cent of Guyana’s forest to Hess Corporation.

Guyana received a payment of US$22 million, which represents 15 per cent of Hess’ payment for carbon credits totalling GYD$4.7 billion, that is being disbursed towards economic development and upliftment of the Amerindian population.

Vice President, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo

Each village will be receiving up to $35 million and no less than $10 million from the carbon credit funds in 2023. To date, $2.6 billion from the $4.7 billion carbon credit funding has already been disbursed to the Amerindian villages, Vice President Dr Bharrat Jagdeo revealed at a press conference held at the Office of the President, on Thursday.

He explained, “We anticipate by the end of the year, most of it would be expended. If you listen to the Toshaos, you will hear about how transformative these funds have been in their communities, apart from the support that they have received directly from the government through tractors and all of that … these funds alone have made a huge impact in these villages.”

At the 2023 National Toshaos Council (NTC) Conference, Toshaos presented transformative projects that are ongoing in their villages, including in agriculture, eco-tourism, infrastructure, income making projects for vulnerable groupings among others.

“Next year, these communities will get another $2.6 billion, because we’d receive $87 million and next year would be the lowest year. This will go up to 2030, every year they will get these funds, but this is only for 30 per cent, the vice president added.

If the government has to sell the remaining 70 per cent of Guyana’s forest, the Amerindian population could benefit from an additional US$400 million in financial resources.

“They will receive $400 million in a ten-year period which is a lot of money and more than. In fact, they’ve said that under this one year (funds received) more funding than the entire villages receive under APNU in five years. That is through all of their programmes,” he stated.

Although the government-conceptualised initiative is reaping immense benefits in the Amerindian villages, Dr Jagdeo highlighted, the Amerindian People’s Association (APA) has attempted to block the funding by writing the Architecture for REDD+. Transactions (ART) Secretariat, citing lack of consultation.

Vice President reminded that, “In 2009, when we launched the first Low Carbon Development Strategy and we had the agreement with Norway. APNU+AFC and the APA tried to block the funds coming to Guyana by writing Norway.”

Importantly, the government, he said consulted with every Amerindian community and signed an agreement at the 2022 NTC Conference for the greenlight of the 15 per cent allocated to Amerindian development in the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS 2030).

Meanwhile, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic Administration’s commitment to improving the livelihoods and economic landscape of the first people is evident, as over 90 per cent of manifesto promises for the Amerindian population have been fulfilled.

These include the rehiring of more than 2,000 Community Service Officers (CSOs), the resuming of the Amerindian Land Tilting programme, an increase in the Presidential Grants, and revision of the Amerindian Act of 2006 among other Amerindian development-driven initiatives.

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