No World Bank public awareness funds for Amerindians
The World Bank has said that it is no longer providing the National Toshaos Council (NTC) with the funds to educate Amerindians about the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS).
This was confirmed yesterday by Yvonne Pearson, who heads the NTC.
In mid-October 2009, the World Bank announced that it would provide US$200,000 seed grant to support efforts by Guyana to prepare a plan to benefit from international funding for saving the forest. The money was intended to be used to fund technical studies coordinated by the Guyana Forestry Commission and information efforts and community awareness activities coordinated by the National Toshaos Council.
The announcement came after a due diligence mission here as part of the preparatory phase to support this country’s low carbon model to benefit from international funds under a United Nations mechanism called REDD.
But two years after the announcement and following scathing attacks by the President on the World Bank, none of the funds has been made available to the NTC for the public awareness efforts.
Pearson said that months ago the World Bank indicated that it would no longer be providing the funds and that discussions should be started with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) for those funds.
However, Pearson said that the necessary information was provided to the IDB, but the NTC has not received any funds.
Guyana is among a group of 37 countries around the world that stand to benefit from the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF), a Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) administered by the World Bank.
At the FCPF Participants’ Committee (PC) meeting in June, 2009 in Switzerland, the PC cleared the proposals for Guyana, Panama and Indonesia for funding under the Readiness phase, subject to compliance with safeguards and other Bank due diligence.
The FCPF was launched at the 13th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Bali, and became operational in June 2008.
The grant for the Readiness Phase is to prepare the country to move into the Carbon Fund Phase, which remunerates selected countries with Performance-Based Carbon Payments from carbon markets and/or funds, with a certain baseline, including a monitoring and verification system by which international organizations can monitor the forests for deforestation, the impact of mining and other factors.
In late July, The World Bank, which is managing funds from Norway under the five-year forest saving deal with this country, wants discussions with Amerindians and other checks before it funds any project the government proposes for Amerindian communities.
The President accused the World Bank, which has before insisted that it is only following guidelines set out by Norway, of stalling the release of funds through its bureaucratic structures.
Norway has so far disbursed US$70 million into a World Bank account through its five-year forest saving deal with this country, but not a cent has yet reached Guyana.
Of the first tranche of US$30 million, the government had stated its intention to use $8 million to put solar panel in every Amerindian home, speed up the demarcation of Amerindian lands, and set up an Amerindian Development Fund.
With the Norway funds not yet here, the government is using funds from the treasury to carry out the solar panel project.