“SIDS are most affected and should make their voices heard” ─ Minister Mustapha on global climate change mitigation efforts

With many countries in this part of the region being the most affected by the devastating impacts of climate change, Agriculture Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha called on other Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to voice their thoughts and opinions on matters relating to the global climate change mitigating efforts.

Minister Mustapha was at the time addressing the 37th session of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Regional Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean in Quito, Ecuador.

Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha while making his presentation during day 4 of the conference.

While speaking during today’s ministerial session on better environment and better life, Minister Mustapha said that developing countries and SIDS have very low CO2 emissions levels when compared to developed countries with large established industries. 

Given the fact that developing states are most affected, the minister noted that it was time for developing countries to take the lead in making and guiding the necessary steps to curb climate change.

In highlighting Guyana’s efforts in this regard, he explained that, for years, Guyana has been recognised for its global leadership in climate and forest conservation efforts and interventions through its Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS).

“Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) is a framework intended to map the part of a new growth trajectory in a nonpolluting way. Recognizing that the first objective of the LCDS required international action, Guyana sought a partner who shared the country’s vision, and, in 2009, Guyana and Norway agreed to work together to create a model to advance these efforts.

“At that time our then President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo and the Government of Norway signed an agreement that would see Norway providing Guyana with results-based payments for forest climate services alongside cooperation between the countries in the fight against climate change, the protection of biodiversity, and the enhancement of sustainable development. For the period 2009 to 2015, Guyana earned US$212.5 million which was then invested in our LCDS.

“This has created low carbon jobs enabling indigenous villages to receive legal titles for communion lands, funded critical rehabilitation of canals to protect against flooding as well as the initial procurement of materials to equip indigenous and hinterland communities with renewable energies, digital infrastructure, and sustainable livelihood opportunities,” the minister explained.

Noting that the productive sectors, more so the agriculture sector of developing countries and SIDS are often left with long-term effects following natural disasters brought on by climate change, Minister Mustapha reiterated the point that those most affected should be allowed to take the lead in guiding the steps to curb climate change.

“In the developing world, we are adversely affected by climate change, more so in our agriculture sector given the fact that agriculture remains a high incoming generating sector in the economy, and for us to produce we need to have a conducive climate. As developing countries, we need to take the lead in making and guiding the necessary steps to curb climate change,” the minister said.

Minister Mustapha also served as chair during the conference’s afternoon session.