Guyana is a middle-income country in South America endowed with natural resources, fertile agricultural land and extensive forests. As a natural resource-based economy, the country is highly susceptible to climate change and fluctuations in global commodity prices. Petroleum discovered off the coast in vast quantities offers the potential for rapid industrial development and increased revenues but comes with environmental, governance and economic risks.
The PAGE partnership with Guyana began in 2017, linked to the development and implementation of the Green State Development Strategy: Vision 2040.Through this Strategy, which was received by the President in May 2019, the Government is pursuing value-added processing for traditional sectors such as agriculture, whilst also generating sustainable income and investment opportunities in future growth sectors, including tourism, fruits and vegetables and business process outsourcing. This is coupled with promoting social equity and strengthening the economy’s ecological foundations.
PAGE support to the Green State Development Strategy, through its Green Economy Modelling Study and focus on building stakeholder and institutional capacity, contributes towards the achievement of SDGs 8, 9, 13 and 17, as well as Guyana’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to the Paris Agreement – in relation to developing the country’s renewable energy potential.
- PAGE engagement with Guyana announced at the PAGE Ministerial Conference
- PAGE mission held to define priority areas aligned with the Green State Development Strategy
- Four Green Conversations supported drawing over 600 participants
- Work on a Green Jobs Assessment Model commenced
- Medium-term system dynamics modelling of green economy scenarios carried out
- Green Industry Trade Assessment completed
- PAGE national advisory committee established
- Series of high-level events held with ministries, civil society and media organisations during Green Economy Week
- Green State Development Strategy officially received by the President, with implementation set to begin in 2020
- Green Economy Modelling Synthesis Report published on system dynamics green economy modelling
- Training held to support model construction and data collection for the Green Jobs Assessment Model under development
Progress in 2019: A snapshot
Facilitating dialogue and ownership of green issues
A series of high-level events were hosted as part of Guyana’s Green Economy Week in March 2019, bringing together representatives from the Ministries of Finance and Business, the Guyana Revenue Authority, private sector, media, national chamber of commerce, donors, civil society and research institutes.
- A media training under the theme “Green Economy Concepts for Communications” to support effective communication, particularly with the launch of the Green State Development Strategy;
- An economic modelling workshop to introduce system dynamics modelling methods and approaches and review the modelling work undertaken;
- A green fiscal policies workshop, exploring the role and benefits of green fiscal policies in addressing environmental externalities; and
- A Green Conversations public event to explain green fiscal policies and green economy concepts to the public under the theme “International Best Practices in Inclusive Green Economy Transition”.
Creating a vision towards sustainable development
The Green State Development Strategy – a 20-year national development strategy for Guyana - was officially received by the President of Guyana in May 2019. The new Vision 2040 promotes three messages: management of natural resource wealth; support of economic resilience; and building human capital and institutional capacity.
PAGE supported stakeholder consultations and informed the political process on SDGs. Through its work on a green industry and trade assessment and a green jobs assessment, PAGE is fostering thematic reforms in line with Vision 2040. In addition, PAGE had helped to enhance understanding of the impact of strategy execution through trainings on economic modelling.
Guyana presented its Voluntary National Review Report on SDGs at the High Level Political Forum in July 2019 – placing the Strategy at the heart of this review.
Creating a model to evaluate environmental policies
With the support of PAGE, Guyana’s green economy modelling, using system dynamics techniques, was completed in September 2019. Known as GEMS (Guyana’s Economy Modelling Study), this model assessed the economic, social and environmental impacts of selected green policies, with a particular focus on energy, agriculture, forestry and road transport.
This assessment was vital in informing the development of the national strategy and in demonstrating to policymakers that with every $1 invested in green economy initiatives, the payback could be four times the investment. Future modelling of Guyana’s economy is expected to build on this initial economic model and delve further into questions regarding where investments can be made in order to attain the targets set out in the Green State Development Strategy.
Building capacity to support the Green Jobs Assessment Model
PAGE conducted a week of training in December 2019, to build the capacity of the Guyana Bureau of Statistics and the University of Guyana on Input-Output tables and the social accounting matrix to be used for the Green Jobs Assessment Model, currently under development. The training provided hands-on knowledge on model construction to technical staff from the Guyana Bureau of Statistics and trained staff from the University of Guyana on the data needed to build the model across environmental and social dimensions. The University is moving to consolidate this working relationship and to improve its technical capacity for modelling.
PAGE impact: 2017-2019 and beyond
PAGE has established itself as a partnership mechanism to support dialogue and provide technical expertise to contribute to the government’s national strategy and vision. Key support areas are highlighted below:
PAGE supported the finalisation of the Green State Development Strategy, holding discussions with various Ministers and a wide group of stakeholders and supporting public outreach sessions with civil society throughout 2018 and 2019 known as Green Conversations. The Government’s commitment to this Strategy’s Vision 2040 has been highlighted across several national and international fora, including in its 2019 Budget Speech and at the 2019 High-Level Political Forum and UNFCCC COP25 event. In 2020, work will commence to develop an online platform for monitoring, evaluating and reporting on the Vision 2040, the SDGs and the Paris Agreement. This contributes to SDG 13, target 13.2 by integrating climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning. It also supports SDG 17, targets 17.14 and 17.16 by enhancing policy coherence and developing country-owned frameworks and tools.
- Modelling green economy scenarios: PAGE work on medium-term system dynamics modelling of green economy scenarios across agriculture, energy, forestry and road infrastructure was finalised and synthesised into a “Summary Report for Policy-Makers” released in September 2019. From 2020, work will be conducted to model SDG and Green State Development Strategy targets to identify investment requirements in the education sector.
PAGE is supporting the development of a green economy progress measurement framework, composing of a GE progress index and a sustainability dashboard, through the provision of stakeholder consultations, training and a calculations exercise in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance, with work to commence in 2020.
PAGE has commenced several activities to support the sectoral and thematic priority areas identified in the Green State Development Strategy, with further work planned for 2020. These activities are summarised below:
To support the development of green industry in Guyana, PAGE conducted a Green Industry Trade Assessment that was validated at a workshop in December 2018 with the Ministries of Finance and Business, the Department of Environment and the Private Sector Commission amongst others. The assessment plays a crucial role in identifying both potential policy reforms and new policies to support the transition to green industrial production and trade. The assessment subsequently provided inputs to the finalisation of the Green State Development Strategy. PAGE support for green industry contributes to SDG 9, target 9.2 by promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialisation, as well as SDG 17, target 17.11, by promoting exports for developing countries.
In 2018, PAGE began work on a Green Jobs Assessment Model, with the current focus on data analysis and capacity building. When completed in 2021, this will provide an economy-wide analysis of the sectors with the greatest potential for employment and fair work, assessing gaps and analytical challenges, while also identifying measures to protect the environment. This supports SDG 8, target 8.5, by promoting decent work for all, as well as SDG 17, target 17.14, by enhancing policy coherence across economic, social and environmental dimensions.
In October 2018, PAGE co-organised the Guyana International Small Business Expo and Summit, participated in plenary sessions in the Green Expo, and sponsored a booth for the display of agro-processing products of an indigenous women’s group. The event provided small-scale entrepreneurs with an opportunity to showcase green and innovative products, as well as a platform for representatives from 16 countries to exchange information and experiences in green economy initiatives. This contributes to SDG 8, target 8.3, by supporting entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation.
In 2020 PAGE will support follow-up work to the Green Industry Trade Assessment on waste management and resources efficiency in the agricultural sector. PAGE will also provide inputs to a scoping study on fiscal policy reforms and the development of a fiscal reform strategy for sustainable agriculture, linked to the Agricultural Ministry’s new Agriculture Sector Strategy 2020-2030. This will be accompanied by targeted capacity building activities in fiscal policies and trade and industrial policy. Finally, PAGE will provide technical support in the analysis of access to finance and promotion of innovative schemes that respond to the needs of the coconut value chain. These activities will contribute to SDG 8, target 8.3, by supporting green productive activities and SDG 17, targets 17.14 and 17.15, by enhancing policy coherence, encouraging domestic resource mobilisation and promoting investment.
PAGE has supported capacity building in Guyana, focussing not only on training of government stakeholders, but also the media, civil society and the wider public. This will help to build momentum for green economy policies and create ownership of a shared vision.
Several capacity building activities have been undertaken to build the individual, and in turn, institutional capacity of the following stakeholder groups:
- Government officials: PAGE has built the capacity of staff at the Ministry of Finance to use system dynamics modelling, holding three training events in February 2018 and one in March 2019. A total of about 30 staff have been trained to date. This contributes to SDG 17, target 17.9, by supporting capacity for planning and implementing the SDGs.
- The media: Media training was conducted as part of Green Economy Week in March 2019, with a total of 10 media professionals trained. Additional training is being discussed for 2020 as part of a proposed second edition of the Green Economy Week. PAGE work in this area supports SDG 13, target 13.3, by improving education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change.
- General public: A total of five Green Conversations – high profile, public and media events that provide an open, non-partisan, inclusive space for Guyanese to learn about and engage with green development issues – have been held throughout 2018 and 2019 in various locations across Guyana. These events have drawn a combined audience of approximately 200 with an online reach of more than 12,000 participants through live streaming. The events facilitated information sharing from an internationally-renowned expert on key themes. The Green Conversations are now an established brand that will be continued during implementation of the Green State Development Strategy. This work has contributed to SDG 17, targets 17.16 and 17.17, by promoting knowledge sharing and fostering effective partnerships.
Guyana was invited by China’s Foreign Environmental Cooperation Centre of Ministry of Ecology and Environment to participate in a 15-day training course on Climate Change and Green & Low Carbon Development in Beijing in December 2019. One staff member from the Department of Environment attended to learn best practices via courses and field trips, exchange experiences and boost South-South cooperation. This supports SDG 17, target 17.6, by enhancing international cooperation and knowledge sharing.