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US$200,000 grant from the World Bank to support information sharing activities on forest preservation strategies has been available for more than a month but government has not moved to sign the document.

Approval for the release of the money was given by the bank in mid-February, Giorgio Valentini, the World Bank Country Representative for Guyana, said. The Guyana government was notified that the document was available for signature since March 2, he said. It is not clear why the administration has made no move to access the money.

Last October, a team from the World Bank visited Guyana to meet some indigenous communities on forest preservation strategies and had promised a US$200,000 grant to support information sharing activities. The team’s leader had said that this might have been allocated in two weeks. It was not approved within the two weeks due to some delays, Valentini told Stabroek News.

However, in mid-February the bank signed the document approving the release of the money and has been waiting since March 2, for the government to sign and access the money.

During the team’s visit, Amerindian communities requested that a seed grant be made available to support technical studies, information sharing and raising awareness. The Guyana Forestry Commission and the National Toshaos Council (NTC) were the organisations tasked with taking the lead in executing the activities.

On March 17, Chairperson of the NTC Yvonne Pearson had told reporters that a lack of money was hindering the council from holding further consultations in Amerindian communities about the Low Carbon Development and REDD+ strategies.

She said this following concerns expressed by some indigenous leaders and groups on the scope of government’s consultations on the Low Carbon Development Stra-tegy (LCDS) and REDD+ initiatives. Pearson, at a press conference, said the NTC realises there is a need for more information sharing and awareness sessions. She said the organisation is seeking money from the World Bank and has submitted a project proposal. “We can only move, get out there to our people if we have the kind of support and that is financial support to get out there; bring the document in simple language, go out there ourselves and explain to the people the document…,” she had said.


Extpub | by Dr. Radut