GOVERNMENT OF GUYANA
DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND CLIMATE CHANGE
Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) 2030
Advancing Guyana’s Development and Global Climate Leadership
In 2007, the then President of Guyana, and current Vice-President, HE Dr Bharrat Jagdeo, set out a vision for how the world’s tropical forests could be saved in a speech to Commonwealth Finance Ministers, who were meeting in Georgetown. He said that he believed the people of Guyana would be willing to create a model for the world of how Guyana’s forest could be deployed in the long-term service of the world’s battle against climate change.
Pristine Forest Landscape of Guyana with 18 million hectares of forests kept intact at over 99% coverage.
This vision led to a draft of the world’s first low carbon development strategy from a developing country – the LCDS. The draft subsequently underwent one of the most extensive national consultations in Guyana’s history, which was overseen by a Multi-Stakeholder Steering Committee and informed by the contributions of thousands of Guyanese and others.
The strategy was finalised in December 2009 and set out a three-phase plan whereby Guyana would earn payments for jurisdiction-scale forest climate services and invest these in the Low Carbon Development Strategy:
- Phase I: a bilateral agreement with a partner which shared Guyana’s vision
- Phase II: available market-based mechanisms
- Phase III: a fully-fledged UNFCCC REDD+ mechanism
The first phase saw Guyana enter the Guyana-Norway partnership in 2009 – and Guyana earned over US$220 million in payments, which were invested in the LCDS.
In 2021, His Excellency Dr Mohammed Irfaan Ali fulfilled an election promise to update and expand the Low Carbon Development Strategy, and as a result Guyana has moved to Phase II.
LCDS Phase 2
On October 28, 2021, the President made a televised address to the nation, announcing the start of the national consultation on a draft LCDS 2030. The consultation culminated in July 2022, when the LCDS 2030 was updated significantly based on feedback from the national consultation.
Nationwide consultations on LCDS 2030: Guyanese across all regions asking questions, providing feedback and making recommendations on the draft LCDS 2030. (November 2021 to July 2022)
Guyana is now able to generate high-quality carbon credits and sell them in global voluntary carbon markets. The country will earn significantly more revenues than it earned through the Guyana-Norway Agreement. This will enable unprecedented investments in LCDS priorities, with a particular focus on indigenous peoples and local communities in forest areas.
LCDS 2030 – EXTENSIVE NATIONAL AND COMMUNITY-LEVEL CONSULTATIONS
Following the President’s Address to the Nation in October 2021, the draft Strategy was released on the LCDS website (https://lcds.gov.gy/ ). Reviewers could insert comments/questions in real time or send emails. National consultations lasted from October 2021 until July 2022, and the process was overseen by the MSSC.
Indigenous elder reviewing the draft LCDS 2030 and highlights points of recommendations to share with the LCDS Team.
Multi-Stakeholder Steering Committee (MSSC) The MSSC oversees LCDS development and implementation. Membership includes the Offices of the President and the Vice President, the Office of the Prime Minister, Ministry of Public Works, Ministry of Amerindian Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Natural Resources (including Guyana Forestry Commission and Guyana Geology and Mines Commission), Ministry of Agriculture, the National Toshaos’ Council, Amerindian Peoples’ Association (APA), Guyanese Organisation of Indigenous Peoples (GOIP), The Amerindian Action Movement of Guyana (TAAMOG), National Amerindian Development Foundation (NADF), Private Sector Commission, Indigenous Peoples Commission, Forest Products Association, Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association, in addition to representatives of Labour Unions, Women’s organizations and youth groups.
Consultations During Covid-19 Period At the start of the national consultation, Guyana was still under health restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic. As a result, citizens from across sectors, disciplines, gender and other groupings were engaged on the Zoom and Facebook Live platforms during which the draft Strategy was explained, while participants’ questions received responses and their recommendations were recorded. Concurrently, informational videos and messages were circulated in the print and electronic media, and on social media sites.
Face-to-Face Consultations As national health restrictions were lifted, face-to-face consultations began in focus group meetings and in community consultations across the ten administrative regions. Independent activities by members of the MSSC and civil society were undertaken, while the National Consultation consisted of (i) national level engagements; (ii) thematic engagements; (iii) community-based consultations; (iv) receipt of written feedback; (v) feedback via a website; and (vi) an active public engagement programme.
Regional and Community Level Consultations were held in every region, as shown in the table below. Each session was attended by on average 100 persons. Over 200 Indigenous Villages and forest-based communities were engaged.
Feedback received throughout the national consultation is summarized in a 315-page report that is publicly available on the LCDS website, showing each comment received and how it has been used to inform the finalization of the LCDS 2030: https://lcds.gov.gy/summary-of-feedback/
Summary of Villages, Communities and Organizations represented at Regional LCDS Consultations
|1||Mabaruma||St Dominic, Aruka Mouth, Arukamai, Sacred Heart, Aruau, Hobedia, Hotoquai, Lower Kaituma, Barima /Kariabo, Black Water Savannah, Lower Black Water, Lower Kariabo, Red Hill, Baracina, Unity Square, St Anselm’s, Morawhanna, Imbotero, Smith Creek, Shell Beach, Kachikaimo, Three Brothers, Yarakita,White Water, Wauna, Tobago, Wanaina, Hosororo, Koberimo, Khan’s Ville/Hill, Hobo Hill,Thomas Hill, Barabina , Mabaruma|
|1||Port Kaituma||Matthew’s Ridge, Arakaka, One Mile, Baramita, Eclipse Falls, 4 miles, Oronoque, Citrus Grove, Canal Bank, Sebai, Fitzburg, Port Kaituma|
|1||Santa Rosa||Kariako, Kokerite, Waikrebi, SantaCruz (Little and Big Canaballi), Warapoka, Assakata, Kwebana, Fathers Beach, Manawarin, Waramuri, Haimaracabra, 7 mile (Santa Rosa and satellites) Kairie, Kamwatta, Parakese, Mora, Wallaba, Karaburi, Haimaruni, Rincon, Cabora, Huradiah, Koko, Paloma, Kumaka|
|2||Anna Regina||Bethany, Mashabo, Capoey, Mainstay/Whyaka, Tapakuma, St. Deny’s, Akawini, Wakapau, Charity, Kabakaburi, St Monica, Karawab., Lima Sands, Anna Regina (and Mayor &Town Councli, Onderneeming|
|3||Lenora||Zeelugt, Parika, Naamryck, Groenveldt, Stewardtwille, Lenora|
|4||Lusignan||Golden Grove, Non Pariel, Brixton, Foulis, Enmore, Unity/Vereenining, Cane Grove, Mon Repos, Haslington, LBI, Buxton, Kuru Kuru|
|5||Bush Lot||#22 Bel Voir, Woodlands, Bel Air, Hamlet, Fellowship, Proffit, Rising Sun, Bush Lot, Armadale, Mahaicony, Farm, Cotton Tree, Moraikobai, Blairmont, Geldenland, Mara, Kilcoy/Hampshire, No. 52 -74 NDC, Plegt Anker, Enfield, Kintyre/Borlam NDC, Crabwood Creek, Wyburg/Caracas NDC, Corriverton M&TC , Maida/Talgorie NDC, Brothers Village, Rose Hall, Eversham|
|6||New Amsterdam||Loggers’ associations from Canje River, Mara, and Lonsdale/Brothers/Sisters; New Amsterdam|
|7||Kamarang||Phillipai, Wayala Yeng, Amokokopai, Jawalla, Quebanang, Kako, Warawatta, Waramadong, Paruima, Omenaik, Kambaru, Imbaimadai, Chinoweng, Wax Creek, Kamarang|
|7||Bartica||Isseneru, Tasserene, Kangaruma/Asura, Miles Potaro Road, Karrau, Kartabo, Issano, Sacaralla Bay, Falmouth, Agatash, Daag Point, Mile Potaro Road.|
|8||Kato||Kato, Chiung Mouth, Kanapang, Penak, Itabac, Kurukabaru, Kamana, Waipa, Sand Hills, Catchcow, Kaibarupai, Karisparu, Paramakatoi, Mountain Foot, Bamboo Creek,Tuseneng, Taruka|
|8||Mahdia||Chenapou, Campbelltown, Mahdia, Princeville, Micobie, El Paso, Sucre Junction, Mowasi, Muruwa|
|9||Annai||Fairview (Region 8, but administratively Region 9), Surama, Wowetta, Kwatamang, Rupertee, Annai Central, Apoteri, Rewa, Crash Water, Yakarinta, Massara, Kwaimatta, Anaruputa, Toka, Yupukari, Quatata, Fly Hill, Kaicumbay, Katoka, Semonie (& Students of Bina Hill Institute), Iwokrama, Conservation International, South Rupununi District Council, Sustainable Wildlife Management Project|
|9||Maruranau||Sand Creek, Potarinau, Kraudanarau, Maruranau, Aishalton, Quiko, Shea, Baitoon, Achiwib, Sawarenau, Rupanau, Shulinab, Parikarainau, Meriwau, Parabara, Katoonarib, Lethem|
|10||Kwakwani||SandHills /Hittia, DeVeldt, Kimbia, Wiruni, Wikki/Calcuni, Parapee, Ituni, Hururu, Kaitapin, Bamboo Landing, Jonestown, Kimbia, Community Forestry Groups from Berbice River area|
|10||Linden||Rockstone, Bamia, Wisroc, 47 Miles Mabura Road, Prosville, Andyville, Malali, Siberian, Coomacka Mines, 58 Miles Mabura Road, Kara Kara, Kairuni, Muritaro, Great Falls, Christianburg, Nottinghamshire, Watooka, Speightland, Ituni, Richmond Hill|
In hinterland communities, Toshaos, regional officials and other leaders were contacted, invitations dispatched, and arrangements made to ensure residents’ participation.
Thousands of draft LCDS 2030 books were distributed at the consultations and through various government agencies and NGOs such as the Amerindian Peoples Association (APA) and the South Rupununi District Development Council.
LCDS 2030 Consultations Planning Session with LCDS Team and members of the South Rupununi District Council (11th March, 2022)
In addition, a Question and Answer booklet covering the objectives and frequently asked questions on the Strategy was prepared and circulated.
The Objectives of the LCDS were translated into the nine indigenous languages, with hundreds of copies of these translations printed and distributed, along with hard-copies of the LCDS PowerPoint presentation used throughout the consultative process.
All stakeholder engagements included discussions on carbon credits and revenue (benefit) sharing. As a result, beneficiaries expanded to include titled and untitled communities, as well as communities in savannahs, wetlands, forested landscapes and other ecosystems. The resulting mechanism is set out in the revised LCDS 2030.
LEADING ROLE OF THE NATIONAL TOSHAOS’ COUNCIL (NTC)
After the final community consultations, the National Toshaos’ Council (NTC) held its annual conference in Georgetown during July 2022.
The NTC is the national body that represents all Indigenous Villages in Guyana, as set out in the legislation that governs Indigenous Peoples matters in Guyana: the Amerindian Act 2006. Part IV, Sections 38-43 of the Act outline the Role and Functions of the National Toshaos’ Council.
Toshaos and Village Councils (the wider body elected to manage the affairs of the village which is headed by the village Toshao) are elected at the village level in keeping with Part III of the Amerindian Act. Toshaos then represent their villages at meetings of the NTC.
Among the functions of the NTC as detailed in Part IV of the Amerindian Act, is to: “coordinate and integrate the activities of the villages on a national basis” as stated in Section 41 (h), and “to prepare strategies and plans for the protection, conservation and sustainable management of village lands and natural resources” as stated in Section 41 (e). By virtue of the provisions of Part IV of the Act including Section 41 (h), collectively these legislatively enshrine the powers of the NTC, to lead on, guide and endorse the LCDS and approach to carbon financing in Guyana.
At the annual NTC Conference in July 2022, all elected Toshaos present, engaged with the LCDS team who joined discussions on the Strategy and plans for the next phase. Every village and community was represented by the leader (176 leaders in attendance). These discussions included reviewing the output of the consultations and the process for, and progress on, issuing and marketing carbon credits. A resolution was passed, with no objection, endorsing the LCDS 2030 inclusive of all its elements while both the Government and the Chair of the NTC emphasized the need for Toshaos to stay involved as implementation of the LCDS moves ahead, village plans are prepared or updated, and new opportunities arise.
Following the NTC endorsement, the MSSC’s July meeting approved the revised LCDS 2030 and resolved that the Strategy be sent to Parliament for approval.
The LCDS 2030 was tabled in the National Assembly on July 21, 2022. The motion was debated and successfully passed by the assembly on August 8, 2022
Consultation Session on LCDS 2030, held in Kamarang on LCDS 2030. (April 20, 2022)
Nationwide consultations on LCDS 2030: the LCDS Team providing information and seeking inputs on LCDS 2030. (November 2021 to July 2022)
INTERNATIONALLY RECOGNISED HIGH INTEGRITY CARBON CREDITS
From mid-2021 to the end of June 2022, the Government carried out an assessment of potential voluntary carbon markets standards, comparing them against Guyana’s objectives, as well as current and future UNFCCC requirements. Small-scale project-based standards were not appropriate, while the ART-TREES was assessed as the best standard available for Guyana.
ART-TREES credits are recognised as some of the highest-integrity credits in the market.
Espen Barth-Eide, Norway’s Minister of Climate and Environment: “I congratulate Guyana on being the first country to issue forest carbon credits certified by ART, paving the way for many others to come. This marks a breakthrough for the emergence of a high-quality global carbon market to protect tropical forests”.
Lord Zac Goldsmith, the UK’s Minister of State for Energy, Climate and Environment: “This is a huge step forward for high-integrity forest carbon credits and protecting tropical forests at scale. It’s fantastic to see Guyana’s leadership rewarded.”
World Conversation Society Executive Vice President for Global Conservation, Joe Walston: “This is huge. Guyana’s issuance of the world’s first market-oriented jurisdictional REDD+ credits through the ART TREES standard is a testament to its commitment to pursuing equitable economic development through the safeguarding its forests”.
A statement from WRI, Rainforest Foundation Norway (RFN), Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), and Re:wild, as members of the Forests for Life Partnership addressed the high integrity of ART-TREES credits:
“HFLD-labelled credits issued under ART-TREES 2.0 [the specific type of credits issued for Guyana] have high environmental integrity because credits fully address legitimate additionality, conservativeness and permanence, and furthermore counteract international leakage, reward forest stewardship by Indigenous Peoples, and incentivize action at scale while avoiding perverse incentives. “
These core elements of the credits’ high integrity are:
Jurisdictional scale. They represent the value of carbon stored at a country level rather than at a project level, avoiding issues of leakage and promoting outcomes that protect the ecosystem rather than just carbon storage or removal functions.
Additional. Exclusive reliance on historical baselines does not adequately represent current and future pressures that HFLD jurisdictions face. ART HFLD credits reward countries and subnational jurisdictions for acting to retain large, highly intact forests, including through monitoring, law enforcement, conservation, and regulation, among other measures.
Permanent The insurance mechanisms required by the standard (e.g., buffer pools) ensure that the overall atmospheric benefit of these credits will be maintained, even if reversals occur in some locations.
Avoid perverse incentives. ART HFLD credits help to alleviate concerns that REDD+ can create perverse incentives by disproportionately rewarding jurisdictions that have experienced the highest rates of deforestation.
ISSUANCE OF CREDITS
The Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) led and managed the application to the ART Secretariat for Phase II of the LCDS vision.
The ART Secretariat is an independent Secretariat that reports to a separate independent Board, who make the final decisions relating to the issuance of ART-TREES credits.
Adherence to the standards by a jurisdiction – such as Guyana – is validated and verified by an independent firm. In the case of credits for Guyana for the period 2016-2020, Guyana underwent a 12-month verification and validation process prior to the credits being approved for issuance.
HISTORIC CARBON CREDITS SALE AGREEMENT
A Request for Proposals (RfP) for potential buyers of Guyana’s credits was issued in March 2022.
Following the RfP, December 2, 2022, saw the announcement of the world’s first sale of jurisdiction-scale carbon credits for Guyana’s forest climate services – with Hess Corporation committing to purchase 37.5 million ART-TREES credits consisting of:
- 12.5 million of the 33.47 million carbon credits issued for the period 2016-2020
- 2.5 million per annum from the credits to be issued each year from 2021 to 2030
They will pay a minimum of:
- US$15 per credit for 2016-2020
- US$20 per credit for 2021 – 2025
- US$25 per credit for 2026-2030
Each credit represents 1tonne Co2e, which is the standard metric used for carbon credits – while the agreed prices represent a significant increase above the US$5/t Co2e under the Guyana-Norway Agreement.
As determined during the national consultation:
- 85% of revenues will be allocated to multi-community and national programs,
- 15% of revenues will be dedicated to village-led plans for indigenous villages and communities.
Guyana anticipates issuing about 7.5 million credits per year on average from 2021 to 2030 – so the Hess deal is for the purchase of about one third of all Guyana’s credits (issued and anticipated) up to 2030.
The agreement will generate a minimum of US$750 million for Guyana over the coming decade and represents a major milestone on the journey towards a vision first set out in 2007. On its own, the agreement will see approximately 157 Billion Guyana dollars invested in low carbon development across the country, with 31.5 Billion of this allocated to village-led development plans.
Signing Event for the Historic Sale of ART TREES Credits between the Government of Guyana and Hess Corporation. 2nd December, 2022
NEW REVENUES WILL LEAD TO INVESTMENTS ACROSS GUYANA, WITH A DEDICATED INVESTMENT STREAM FOR VILLAGE-LED PLANS
The details of what LCDS 2030 objectives are prioritised for investment will be determined through consultation as part of the national budget process, but highlights from the LCDS 2030 include national and multi-community programmes such as:
- Transformative Investment in Renewable and Low Carbon Energy on and near the coast, so that Guyana’s national electricity grid will be modernised and decarbonised. Electricity demand can grow more than fivefold but greenhouse gas emissions will stay essentially flat while electricity prices are halved. Essequibo Coast and Linden will be connected to the main national grid for the first time.
- Transformative Investment in Renewable Energy Isolated Grids – Each isolated grid will receive most of its power from renewable energy by 2030: in Lethem, Mahaica, Bartica, Kwakwani, Matthews Ridge, Port Kaituma, Mabaruma.
- Transformative Investment in Renewable Energy for Amerindian and Hinterland Communities. For villages and communities in remote areas, existing programmes for solar power and mini-grids will be accelerated so that by 2030, all hinterland villages will be electrified using the best technology for their situation.
- Major Investments in Protection Against Climate Change and Biodiversity Loss, including Sea Defence enhancement, strengthening the network of canals and irrigation, building climate-resilient agriculture.
- Support for job creation in agriculture and fisheries, tourism, manufacturing and services, as well as improving the job creation and economic value of sustainable forestry and low income mining – including opening up new markets for certified, sustainable forest products.
- Investment in Health and Education through expansion of telemedicine, smart hospitals and expanded focus on hinterland healthcare, as well as improving climate and environmental literacy within the education system
- Creating a new International Centre for Biodiversity Research, with associated opportunities for increased research and development work by national and international institutions.
- Expanding Protected Areas
NEW REVENUE STREAM FOR VILLAGE-LED PLANS
Amerindian and Titled Lands and Extensions represent 12.7% of forested area in Guyana.
In line with the revenue sharing mechanism designed during the seven-month national consultation on LCDS 2030, the dedicated 15% of revenues will be available for community/village programmes for indigenous peoples and local communities as set out in Village Sustainability Plans or equivalent. The plans are created by villages themselves. In some cases, they will be new plans, whereas in others they may be updates of pre-existing plans.
The dedicated 15% of revenues will be supplemental to investments received under national and multiple-community programmes. Village Plans must be produced in accordance with existing village-led decision making processes and principles of FPIC (free, prior and informed consent), as set out LCDS 2030.
Because they will be led by villages, Village Plans will vary, but previous experience suggests that villages will likely prioritise areas such as community infrastructure and communications; livelihood opportunities; nature and environment; education and health.
More detail can be found in the LCDS 2030 document and on the LCDS website. https://lcds.gov.gy/.
Contact for Guyana
Senior Director, Climate Change
Ministry of Natural Resources
Government of Guyana
Duke Street, Kingston, Georgetown, GUYANA