Establishment of the Guyana Redd+Investment Fund nearing completion
Government of Norway corrects Stabroek News Article
On July 13th, 2010, Guyana’s President Bharrat Jagdeo and Norway’s Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg announced the establishment of the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF). The two leaders stated that Norway planned to pay US$30 million into the fund once it was established. The Norwegian Government has confirmed that work to establish the GRIF is nearing completion, and also requested the Stabroek News to publish a correction of the main front-page article in last Sunday’s Stabroek News, according to a release from the Office of the President.
According to the Stabroek News: “[Norwegian Ambassador Brattskar’s] statement signals that it could be some time yet before Guyana receives the money budgeted for this year from Norway”.
In a letter today to the Stabroek News, which is posted on Norway’s Ministry of Environment website, Ambassador Brattskar said: “Your newspaper’s claim … is incorrect” and re-iterated that the first Norwegian contribution will be made very soon.
The full text of Ambassador Brattskar’s letter to the Stabroek News is as follows:
“Your coverage of my comments on the Guyanese-Norwegian climate and forest partnership did not, unfortunately, fully reflect my written responses to your journalists’ questions. First, my response was explicit that the first Norwegian contribution into the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund will be made as soon as that fund is operational, i.e. very soon. Your newspapers’ claim that significant delays in those payments could be derived from my written response to your questions, is incorrect. We highly value our climate and forest partnership with the Government of Guyana. We will stand by our commitments.
“Second, there was little in my response that you could not have found in the founding documents of the Guyanese-Norwegian climate and forest Partnership, the Memorandum of Understanding and Joint Concept Note. (Both documents can be found both at our home page and that of the Government of Guyana.) Those documents, moreover, do not contain ‘conditions’ imposed on Guyana by Norway . Rather, they result from a year-long bilateral dialogue, where both parties views’ and concerns were incorporated. The Partnership is not based on one country telling the other what to do; on safeguards, for example, both parties are not only fully committed to internationally recognized safeguards; the Partnership is actually working on their implementation. More generally, the Partnership is based on a shared vision of what is needed to address climate change globally. This includes clear commitments for both parties, Norway and Guyana .
“Third, the nature of this relationship is a fundamentally equitable and reciprocal one. The Government of Guyana is providing an environmental service to the world for which the Government of Norway is willing to pay. The transaction is that of a business relationship. Over time, a formal climate financing regime under the United Nations’ Framework Convention on Climate Change should ensure global rules for these transactions.
“President Jagdeo is an active and valued participant in the High Level Advisory Group on climate finance – of which our prime minister is one of the co-chairs – and together our two countries are working hard to establish such an international climate finance regime. Beyond its independent value, the Partnership between Guyana and Norway is of paramount importance as an illustration of how an international regime on climate and forests could be structured. It yields tremendous opportunities for learning valuable lessons and creating win-win opportunities.
“The situation in Guyana is unique in that climate and forest issues are a general public concern that receives wide media coverage. The Guyanese population is unusually well informed on these issues. It is thus even more important for me to ensure that there are no misunderstandings regarding the Norwegian position.”