Statement by Her Excellency Pauline Sukhai, MP, Minister of Amerindian Affairs of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana

23rd  Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

Item 4: Discussion on the Six Mandated Areas of the Permanent Forum (Economic and Social Development, Culture, Environment, Education And Human Rights), with reference to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the 2030 Agenda For Sustainable Development.

15 April 2024


Thank you, Chair,

Guyana sees the work on the six mandated areas which guide the work of this Forum through the lens of inclusive development. As such, we have implemented comprehensive policies in full transparency and consultation with Indigenous Peoples.

Prior to instruments such as the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Guyana had already taken steps to promoting and advancing the rights of our First Peoples. As we deliberate on “Indigenous Peoples in a Greening Economy” allow me to focus on a few of our initiatives.

Firstly, Guyana’s Indigenous Peoples, known also as Amerindians, enjoy the same fundamental rights and freedoms as all Guyanese under the Constitution. Their collective and specific rights are further secured under the Amerindian Act which addresses, inter alia, governance, land

rights, sustainable use and benefit-sharing of natural resources, and the preservation of cultural heritage.

Guyana as a small State has the fastest growing economy in the world, as envisioned by His Excellency President Ali, our development is centered on a multi-sector approach for all of our people.

Guyana maintains the second highest forest cover in the world – 86% of its territory. Our Low Carbon Development Strategy, was approved and endorsed by the legally recognized representative body for Indigenous peoples in Guyana, the National Toshaos Council. This strategy seeks to transform the economy while combating climate change.

Guyana has made history in 2022 when it was issued the world’s first jurisdictional carbon credits under the Architecture for REDD+ Transactions. Fifteen percent (15%) of all revenues earned from the sale of carbon credits is allocated to our Indigenous communities, who account for 10% of our population and legally own 16.4% of Guyana’s land mass. This represents an addition to Government’s budgetary allocation for investments to improved access to education, healthcare, social protection services, infrastructure and increased opportunities for economic empowerment of Amerindians.

As we continue to focus on the green economy, let us ensure that protection and preservation of the environment are done in tandem with meeting the sustainable development aspirations of Indigenous people.

Guyana recognizes and recommends that more must be done to ensure the rights of Indigenous Peoples are respected and protected worldwide. We reiterate our commitment to the full realization of their rights while sharing our experience and learning from others.

Thank you.

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