Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy
In June 2009, the Government of Guyana launched its Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS), which aims to transform Guyana’s economy on to a low carbon, sustainable development trajectory, while simultaneously combating climate change. The LCDS aims to protect and maintain the forests in an effort to reduce global carbon emissions and at the same time attract payments from developed countries for the climate services that the forests provide to the world, which will be invested to foster growth and development along a low carbon emissions path, without compromising the sovereignty over the forests or affecting the development prospects of Guyanese.
With the implementation of the LCDS, Guyana can avoid cumulative forest-based emissions of 1.5 gigatons of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent which includes other greenhouse gases) by 2020 that would have been produced by an otherwise economically rational development path. Avoided deforestation will have positive effects on other critical environmental services Guyana’s forests provide to the world in addition to carbon storage and sequestration, such as bio-diversity and eco-system services.
Guyana’s LCDS is an integrated strategy which encompasses each of the three pillars of Sustainable Development (SD). It aims to mainstream SD initiatives, including efforts to address climate change, reduce climate related risk and propel implementation of measures to adapt to climate change.
The LCDS has several important components. The first examines how Guyana can deploy its forests in mitigating climate change while also gaining financial and other support for doing so. The second examines how the country can move along a low carbon development path. The third examines the further protection of Guyana from the effects of climate change (adaptation). The Strategy aims to enable overall national development in the process.
In other words, the LCDS demonstrates how developmental goals can be achieved in a low carbon economy.
The two broad goals of the Strategy, as detailed in the LCDS Update (2013), are outlined below:
- Transforming the economy to deliver greater economic and social development by following a low carbon development path; and
- Providing a model for the world of how climate change can be addressed through low carbon development in developing countries, if the international community takes the necessary collective actions, especially relating to Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation Plus (REDD+).