GRIF funds disbursement awaiting agreement on projects
THE Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF) will not be available for disbursal until the Government of Guyana and its partners -- the Inter- American Development Bank (IDB) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) -- have agreed on projects to be presented to the Steering Committee.
Head of the Presidential Secretariat (HPS), Dr. Roger Luncheon, made this pronouncement yesterday while fielding questions at his weekly post-Cabinet press briefing at the Office of the President.
“We have to continue working with our partner entities to ensure agreements can be made on project design and execution; and at that point, it will be placed before the Steering Committee… If this is not completed, then access to the funds to implement those projects would not be possible,” the Cabinet Secretary explained.
The GRIF is a fund for financing activities identified under the Government of Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS). Based on independent verifications of Guyana’s deforestation and forest degradation rates and progress on REDD+ enabling activities, the Government of Norway has committed to provide up to US$250 million to the fund up to 2015.
On June 16, 2011, the Steering Committee approved the concept note for the institutional strengthening in support of Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) project, and agreed to finance project preparation by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
The objective of this project is to enhance Guyana’s institutional capacity to address the impacts of climate change, ensure the effective implementation of the LCDS, and meet its commitments under interim REDD+ partnerships.
On July 18, 2011, the World Bank, as Trustee of GRIF, received the second instalment of the Norway funds in the amount of 213 million Norwegian kroners, or approximately US$38M; and as a result, there is now approximately US$68 million available for funding decisions by the Steering Committee.
Pending the creation of an international REDD+ mechanism, the GRIF represents an effort to create an innovative climate finance mechanism which balances national sovereignty over investment priorities, while ensuring that REDD+ funds adhere to the financial, environmental and social safeguards of Partner Entities, the World Bank had said.
The GRIF funds could be used to finance any project that is included in Guyana's LCDS, once approved by the Steering Committee and developed in compliance with the partner entity's safeguards and other policies.
Guyana and Norway signed an historic Memorandum of Understanding in November 2009 in the Amerindian village of Fairview in the Rupununi. Signing for Guyana was former President Bharrat Jagdeo, while Environment Minister of Norway, Erik Solheim, signed on behalf of Norway.
Guyana will invest the payments it receives, and any income earned on them, in its Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS).