Guyana State of the Environment Report Launched

Jun 6, 2017

On World Environment Day 2017, United Nations (UN) Resident Co-coordinator and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative in Guyana, Mikiko Tanaka formally presented the Guyana State of the Environment Report to the Government at a simple launching ceremony and cocktail reception at the Umana Yana.

The development of the UNDP funded report was a collaboration between the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Environment (DoE), University of Guyana (UG) and several other agencies.

The State of the Environment Report (SoE Report) was commissioned by the Government of Guyana and UNDP in order to obtain a central repository of the latest available data in the environment and natural resources sector. This repository and analysis of current information intends to facilitate the identification of information gaps, point towards areas in need of further research and highlight significant matters that need to be tackled by government institutions.

Minister of State, Honourable Joseph Harmon in delivering the feature address at the launch event congratulated the collaborating agencies and thanked UNDP for funding the initiative. He noted that the State of the Environment report is a welcomed addition to the body of work that is available on environment in Guyana.

Minister Harmon posited that the launch of the report is important and happened at a time when there is increased global scrutiny on the protection and sustainability of environmental values for the benefit of present and future generations.

It is against this backdrop Minister Harmon said “The report will unquestionably serve as an important baseline for the conduct of similar reports in the future and an important reference document in the preparation of the green state development strategy and green state development plan.

UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Ms Mikiko Tanaka explained that the report highlights five (5) key needs of the environment sector: participatory environmental governance; integration of biodiversity conservation and management into national sectoral policies, plans and programmes; need for integrated water management; an operational National Waste Management Strategy and Regional Waste Management Plans; and better coordination of natural resource management.

Ms Tanaka urged that the report be widely disseminated and posited that implementing the recommendations will require institutional collaboration and coordination, as well as dedicated financing.

She also acknowledged that “data and information gaps exist and will need continued work. It is against this backdrop that she announced that UNDP will support the work of the Department of Environment in developing an Environmental Information and Monitoring System with GEF-Funding for Rio Convention implementation.”

Director of the Department of Environment, Ms Ndibi Schwiers explained that implicit in the report is not only the responsibility of the government but all Guyanese. She noted that the “State of the Environment report represents a critical analysis of the main environmental issues in Guyana, the drivers of environmental change and how this change affects our well-being.” This she said is a step in the right direction and it reaffirms the commitment of government to the sustainable management of national priorities.

Mr. Kemraj Parsram, Executive Director (ag) of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) noted that the report is timely and it is the first of its kind covering a national scale. He explained that “while the report may not be comprehensive due to lack of accurate national environmental data, it is a start and it brings to light key aspects of our state of the environment at this point in time and the challenges before us.”

He called on policy makers and environmental managers to use the report optimally to garner decisions for good management of the environment.

The report has been developed using the DPSIR framework (Drivers, Pressure, State, Impact, Response) methodology and the production consisted of different phases, all of which included significant stakeholder participation.

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