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the minister said that the draft outlines planning for a reactive mechanism

the minister said that the draft outlines planning for a reactive mechanism

…describes it as narrow-minded and unsatisfactoryThe draft strategy to build the resilience of the Caribbean community was yesterday rejected by Minister of Agriculture, Robert Persaud, because it focuses mainly on tourism and health, with particular emphasis on hurricanes.The draft was developed by the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre and was presented yesterday by Joe Mc Gann, Project Coordinator, Mainstreaming Adaptation to Climate Change (MACC), at the Regency Suites, the venue for national consultation to review the draft strategy.Delivering remarks at the forum, the minister said that the draft outlines planning for a reactive mechanism, and misses the opportunity to articulate how the Caribbean can effectively position itself to combat climate change from a global perspective.Outlining its failings in the context of Guyana, Minister Persaud said that scant mention is made of the flooding hazards of climate change, and little is made of the information available from the 2005 floods.Guyana’s ability to fight the impact of climate change in terms of the carbon stored in its standing forests, and the raging debate on the Jagdeo initiative to extract funding from standard forests through the carbon trading markets are completely missing, he emphasised.The country’s ability to address the carbon issues with regards to the production of secondary protein (through aquaculture) is again simply not highlighted, the minister noted.He added that Guyana’s fertile coastal plain, which is under serious threat of flooding, possesses tremendous potential for supplying food to the region, but its vulnerability to climate change is ignored.“The numbers quoted for damage to the region due to climate issues, I am absolutely sure, do not include the numbers for damage done due to the 2005 floods…the strategy document fails miserably to note the regional synergies that exist between countries like Guyana, where we have the capacity to produce immense tonnages of food, provided we can combat and mitigate climate change, to the rest of the Caribbean, who lack the landmass and the agricultural infrastructure to grow their own food,” the minister stressed.He lashed out at the aspect of the strategy which claimed that the poverty level in Guyana remains high.“How is this a defensible statement? How is poverty measured here?” Minister Persaud asked.He pointed out that the strategy also deals very unsatisfactorily with the issue of deforestation.This, he advised, needs to be dealt with extensively in a separate section with regard to standing forests.It was noted that the strategy also misses the opportunity to discuss the impact on biodiversity.The Energy Trends and Challenges section is ‘weak,’ the minister said, adding that it fails to also articulate that it is a chance for the region to help address global climate change.This, he said, can be done by looking at the areas of agriculture, aquaculture, and forestry’s role in the mitigation of climate change by carbon neutral economic activities and carbon sequestration economic activities.“ ‘Financial Services’…this is very narrowly written. It focuses on tourism. It should also focus on agriculture, forestry and aquaculture. Thisone definitely needs to be rewritten,” he said.The ‘Goal of the Strategy,’ he added is the most myopic part of the entire document.The Caribbean region is recognised as being one of the most vulnerable regions to the adverse impacts of climate change.This is a result of a number of factors, including its relative exposure to the adverse physical impacts of climatic changes such as sea level rises and increased temperatures, as well as its relatively high dependence on economic sectors that are climate sensitive.In Guyana, climate change is expected to affect major sectors of the country negatively.The consultation which is taking place across the Caribbean will allow for a wide array of sectors of society to share ideas and positions on key issues related to climate change as it relates to Guyana and the rest of the region.

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