in Guyana, Norway

A debate on REDD in Guyana

In mid-February 2014, Nancy Birdsall and Jonah Busch, of the Center for Global Development, visited Georgetown in Guyana. Their visit was part of CGD project looking at how well performance-based payments for forest conservation are working in Guyana, Brazil and Indonesia.

For six weeks in 2009, Busch had been seconded to the office of then-President Bharat Jagdeo, during the writing of Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy.

CGD’s short report is generally optimistic. Birdsall and Busch reported six successes and four worries. Based on their short visit and discussions with 25 experts in Georgetown, Birdsall and Busch came up with six possibilities for Norway and Guyana to explore.

John Palmer is the coordinator of the Master of International Forestry Programme at the Faculty of Forestry at the University of British Columbia. He’s written several critiques of forest governance in Guyana.

Yesterday, Palmer sent Birdsall and Busch a response to their report on Guyana. In it he explains in detail what is wrong with the Norway-Guyana REDD deal.

What follows is CGD’s assessment of Norway’s performance-based REDD payments to Guyana (in italics), followed by Palmer’s responses to each point. The structure follows CGD’s six successes, four worries and six possibilities. (Although after reading Palmer’s responses, describing any of this as a “success” seems wildly over-optimistic.)

Six Successes

1. MRV

Birdsall and Busch: Guyana has built with the assistance of Norway a national system for monitoring, reporting and verifying deforestation and carbon emissions. Though Guyana’s deforestation rates have remained extremely low by international standards, the National MRV system has identified a recent rise in emissions from deforestation, and has been able to attribute the increase to a particular driver—gold mining.

Palmer: External consultants are working towards a MRVS which may be compatible with the as-yet unspecified UNFCCC standard to replace the interim GOFC-GOLD. Martin Herold now at Wageningen Agricultural University and Sandra Brown now at Winrock International have driven the process, Jaako Poyry New Zealand and Indufor Asia Pacific have undertaken the remote sensing studies, with additional work by Det Norske Veritas and the University of Durham (UK). No attempt has been made by agencies of the Government of Guyana, or the external consultants, to supplement their technical reports of hundreds of pages with simplified versions which could be understood by forest-dependent stakeholders in Guyana.

Intentionally or unintentionally, the consultants seem to be unaware of the political contexts in which their work is embedded, or the consequences of allowing the GFC to be both reviewed by the consultants and at the same times listed as co-authors of the reports. In other words, allowing the GFC to meddle with the way in which the MRV is undertaken (for example, by not using the maps of actual logging areas) and with the definitions of what can and cannot be assessed, results in reports which are strong on methodology but improbable in results. Thus, as reported, overall forest production has increased but deforestation due to logging has miraculously declined, while gold production has also increased but deforestation due to gold mining has very greatly increased.

2. Reference Level

Birdsall and Busch: The reference level has succeeded as the basis for making payments-for-performance in a high-forest, low-deforestation country. Modification of the terms of the reference level in the second Joint Concept Note (2011) to add a sliding payment scale is evidence of a healthy level of trust and interchange between Guyana and Norway, and a flexible “learning-by-doing” approach to the partnership.

Palmer: The arbitrary setting of the reference level for deforestation, even after modification, far above the historical levels plus the lack of any changes in policy or practice in Guyana, indicate that the MoU has been unsuccessful so far in generating any pressure on the government or private sector to change the traditional destructive practices. The GFC’s code of practice for forest harvesting (second edition, November 2002) is applied only selectively and the GGMC’s environmental regulations (2005) are not applied at all. The website of the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment is happy to show pictures of destroyed landscapes, not of best practice in reduced-impact logging or mining.

One reason for no progress is the several public statements made by then-President Jagdeo in 2009, that large-scale loggers and miners would be allowed to continue with ‘business as usual’ under his LCDS, subject only to change if insisted upon by external monitors. Mild comments made by external consultants Efeca in 2011 and Rainforest Alliance in 2012 resulted in furious reactions from the GFC, but no changes in policy or practice.

3. Performance-Based Payments

Birdsall and Busch: The performance-based payment system has functioned as designed. Three tranches of performance-based payments of about $115M have been approved from Norway to the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF), of which about $65M has been delivered. Payments have been lower in years when deforestation emissions are higher, consistent with a credible contingent payment system.

Palmer: The Ministry of Finance in Oslo blocked payments into the GRIF after just two (October 2010 and April 2011). About US$ 24 million out of that US$ 69.8 million paid into the GRIF have been or are in process of being disbursed, the great bulk going to the government agencies for unspecified capacity building / institutional strengthening. The rest of the US$ 115 million of Norwegian aid money cannot be paid, according to Norwegian law or procedures, until more of the first two tranches have been spent. And this has not happened because the President’s Office of Climate Change has failed to produce even concept notes for projects outlined briefly in the LCDS. Everyone in Guyana understands what is going on, but the Norwegians, not having technical or diplomatic representation in-country, either cannot or will not understand.

4. Broad buy-in for the principles of the Low Carbon Development Strategy

Birdsall and Busch: The LCDS originated with the office of President Jagdeo rather than externally, and passed unanimously through Parliament. The Government of Guyana undertook a vast and unprecedented effort to transmit understanding of the LCDS to remote regions (consultations), and to include sectors of society in the decision-making process (the Multi-Stakeholder Steering Committee). As a result, the idea of Guyana as a steward of its forests for the benefit of both the people of Guyana and of the rest of the world is broadly shared: by the government, in the opposition, and in civil society. Our understanding is that Guyana is not constrained in the projects it proposes to include in the LCDS for funding through its agreement with Norway.

Palmer: The LCDS is a ragbag of mostly conventional development projects typical of a poor country. It is most regrettable that the LCDS is not based on the non-partisan National Development Strategy, facilitated by the Carter Center of Georgia during 1995-1997, a soundly based set of 40+ chapters covering most aspects of the economy and governance of Guyana. The only significant low-carbon element in the LCDS is the US$ 80 million proposed purchase of equity in the Amaila Falls hydropower dam, whose unaccountably rocketing price just before financial closure led to parliamentary discord and the withdrawal of the licensed US developer (Sithe Global Power LLC, which had very little experience of hydropower dams, most infamously in the also rocketed price of Bujagali in Uganda). If the small Amaila Falls dam had gone ahead, it would have been by far the most expensive globally to construct, in dollars per MW of theoretical output.

Your assertion that the LCDS was passed unanimously through Parliament is only correct when overlooking that the Opposition parties had walked out and were not present when the vote was taken.

The Norway-Guyana MOU is operationalized by the Office of Climate Change (OCC) in the Office of the President. The Head of the OCC was a candidate on the ruling Party’s list of proposed Members of Parliament before the 2011 national elections. The President alone decides on which persons /institutions will be represented on the Multi-stakeholder Steering Committee of the LCDS. Neither of the two Opposition parties, which together have the majority of seats in the National Assembly (Parliament) is represented on the MSSC. A survey of the Minutes of the MSSC would confirm that that body does not debate on what proposals are put up for funding under the MOU, nor is there any technical debate. The MSSC is not a decision-making body, it functions simply as a pantomime of stakeholder consultation process.

The consultations semi-organised by the Office of the President in the second half of 2009 were of the usual democratic centralist type – ‘we come, we speak, you listen, we go’. Many of the hundreds of questions raised during the 13 hinterland sessions, 11 urban awareness meeting and 8 small meetings by GGMC with miners remained unanswered, and no attempt was made to revise the standard government powerpoint presentation to address the common questions. Nor was this standard presentation made culturally intelligible to the hinterland audiences, most of whom have no contact with global news or coastland government. A ‘questions and comments’ page on the LCDS website was opened for just two days and then closed on the grounds that it had been hacked. More than three years later, in late 2012, the Office of Climate Change offered a summary response to some of the LCDS questions. As the LCDS website (which is much better structured, more complete and more frequently updated than most government websites in Guyana) is not accessible by the great majority of people in the hinterland of Guyana; this has been an exercise mostly for blowing smoke towards Norway.

The former President (Jagdeo) selected participants in his LCDS Multi-Stakeholder Steering Committee (MSSC) in 2009. Almost half are staff of government agencies, most of the rest are GONGOs. There has never been any discussion of the rationale or structure of the LCDS, its priorities or its budgets; these are all handled directly by Jagdeo and his immediate staff. People who have raised mild questions about the LCDS have been ejected from the MSSC and replaced by conformists.

Norway has been remarkably trusting in allowing Jagdeo to put forward for funding any of the elements in the LCDS. But Jagdeo wanted the money to be paid directly into his Office without the need for PCNs or full project proposals, and has repeatedly and bitterly complained about having to follow normal donor procedures. So far as I can tell, none of the monies so far disbursed has been subject to independent audit.

5. Some notable strengthening of institutions of forest governance

Birdsall and Busch: In addition to the considerable progress in developing an MRV system, the government has begun to undertake several reforms for low-carbon development. For example, the Forestry Commission has tightened reporting requirements for FLEGT, the Geology and Mines Commission has begun to track lease activity, a National Land Use Map is being developed, and Priority Biodiversity Forests are being identified.

Palmer: One of the weakest aspects of the MOU components has been the REDD+ Governance Development Plan (RGDP). Very little has been achieved. Reluctantly, the GFC has engaged in an EU-FLEGT-VPA process and the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment is beginning a similar approach to EITI. Both processes have explicit requirements for greater transparency. This is very unwelcome to senior civil servants and politicians who have sticky fingers in both mining and logging through ‘management’ of logging and mining licences. The calls for transparency also require engagement with hinterland forest-dependent communities, more in conformity to current international best practice than occurs under the democratic centralism of Guyana. The government agencies really have no practice in two-way or multi-way engagement with stakeholders, and are highly resistant to the idea of modern government, notwithstanding the call in Article 13 of the National Constitution for shared government. The MoU only calls for engagement with the application process for a VPA or for EITI membership, not for completion. So the government agencies may simply drag out the negotiations until the end of the MoU period (end of 2015), and then drop them. There is only a small export trade with the EU for forest products, and some of that trade (‘digger mats’) appears to be simply a vehicle for getting cocaine into The Netherlands, so the EU market involves only a small number of Guyanese; quite unlike the log trades to China and India, which countries are still undemanding about the standards of governance in the producer countries.

There is so far little evidence that the GFC has evolved reporting to match FLEGT VPA requirements. Surprisingly, there is little involvement of the Guyana Revenue Agency (which includes the Customs and Trade Administration) in the FLEGT application process. GGMC of course has information about mining leases, as they are both registered and mapped, and renewal fees have to be paid. The basic national land use map was originally developed in 1997, then abandoned by this same political administration, and revived in 2012. HTSPE (consultants) have developed a new version, in 2012/2013. However, the same greedy collection of politicians may prevent the revival of the national integrated land use planning process which was also developed and demonstrated in 1995-7 and which is stated as policy in the National Development Strategy 1997. Work on biodiversity conservation was undertaken in the late 1990s, published in 2000, and then abandoned when the Government of Guyana objected to the adoption of international best practice for protected areas (PA) legislation. A convoluted process for PAs was afterwards incorporated into a PA Act, passed in July 2011. Two long-proposed PAs – Kanuku Mountains in the Rupununi savanna, and Shell Beach along the NW coast – have been notified since Presidential assent to the PA Act. Germany has continued to put donor money into PA work but the Government of Guyana seems to be spending that money on creating a Georgetown-based bureaucracy, not on field work.

6. Delivery of some money flowing to smaller projects

Birdsall and Busch: Amerindian community development projects have begun through UNDP, while monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) has advanced through Conservation International.

Palmer: The Amerindian Development Fund (ADF) was created long ago, administered initially by the Office of the President and transferred to the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs. It is confusing that there is a GRIF project of the same name, to apply some Norwegian aid money to the implementation of some community development projects in Amerindian villages and communities. The GRIF project is currently in a pilot phase while the main project document is being developed by MoAA with UNDP as the Partner Entity managing the Norwegian money. The pilot phase of the GRIF ADF has a budget of US$ 1.89 million of which US$ 1.21 million is destined for various government agencies and US$ 0.68 million is being disbursed to 27 politically selected villages @US$ 25K each.

The GFC has received several tranches of funds ostensibly for MRV. US$ 1.16 million was channeled by NICFI through Conservation International during May-September 2011, following a previous US$ 0.47 or 0.45 million in 2010 shared with the President’s Office of Climate Change. German KfW supplied US$ 0.74 million directly to the GFC. The bulk of GRIF money for MRV, some US$ 3.1 million, was included in the US$ 7.0 million passed for ‘institutional strengthening’ to the Office of the President just prior to the elections in November 2011. No explanation about how this money was apportioned or expended has been made public. It is unclear if these various sums have been used to pay Jaako Poyry New Zealand, Indufor Asia Pacific, Det Norske Veritas, University of Durham, Wageningen University, Winrock International, and Rainforest Alliance, for their various consultancies for NICFI and the GFC; or if these consultancies have been paid directly by NICFI as components of the global model on which Norway is keen.

Other GRIF projects are the rehabilitation of the Cunha Canal, the Amerindian Land Titling and support for the redundant Small Business Bureau.

Four worries

1. Increasing commercial pressures from gold and logging markets

Birdsall and Busch: The recent, unanticipated expansion of deforestation for gold mining spurred by a recent spike in global gold prices demonstrates the challenge of minimizing deforestation in the face of globally transmitted commercial pressures. Moreover, roads created by the mining sector will persist in facilitating access into forests even after gold prices have fallen. Pressure to deforest is likely to continue rising with the eventual completion of the Linden-Lethem road, deep-water port development, and increasing commercial pressure for logging.

Palmer: The GFC claim that the great bulk of the increased deforestation is due to artisanal hydraulic mining for gold does not match another GFC claim that deforestation is mainly for expanded infrastructure in areas already mined. Nor does the attribution to gold mining match the claim that deforestation attributed to logging has fallen abruptly to one quarter of the 2006-2009 level while forest production (logs and chainsawn lumber) have been increasing; chainsawn lumber has tripled since 2004.

The GFC’s tampering with definitions seems to be one cause, possibly the major cause, of discrepant data. The GFC’s own wall-to-wall forest mapping of deforestation reported in 2006-7 greatly exceeds the areas subsequently reported for the same period. The GFC has offered no explanation of the discrepancy; see ‘Carbon in the forests of Guyana’.

Neither GFC nor GGMC has made serious attempts to enforce equitably and systematically the environmental Regulations and Codes of Practice. Contrary to the intentions of the REDD+ Governance Development Plan under the Norway-Guyana MoU, there have been no changes in policy or practice requirements for mining or logging.

It is more usually the case that miners use logging roads rather than loggers using miners’ roads. Very few of the artisanal miners (mostly renting concessions) have skills or equipment for building roads. Unlike the Brazilian Amazon, the Linden-Lethem road will not traverse land attractive for commercial arable or smallholder agriculture. In four hundred years there have been almost no indications of interest from Brazil in land in Guyana, with the exception of some alleged leases in the infertile savannas for Brazilian rice farmers (led by Paulo Quartiero) who were ejected by Court order from their illegal occupation of the Raposa Serra do Sol indigenous reserve in NE Roraima State. No subsequent farming in the south Rupununi by Brazilian interests has been reported.

Converting the chain of ruts and mud-holes of the current Linden-Lethem road into an IIRSA highway would certainly mean some deforestation along a wider road corridor through the Iwokrama forest. However, that would be little larger than the clearing already undertaken for the pointless Amaila Falls Hydropower dam access road, to which you do not refer.

2. Slow delivery of finance – apparently associated largely with concerns of the “partner entities” about procurement

Birdsall and Busch: Slow delivery of money from the GRIF to planned spending in Guyana (most notably for the Amaila Falls hydropower project) puts at risk local support for forest preservation and the LCDS in general in the face of the commercial pressures above.

Palmer: Jagdeo invariably blames the Norwegians, the World Bank as GRIF trustee and more recently the Partner Entities (IDB and UNDP and WB) for slow disbursement. However, it is clear that the major impediment is the inability of the Guyana Government agencies to prepared fundable PCNs and full proposals from Jagdeo’s one-paragraph outlines in the various versions of the LCDS. The Amaila Falls project was, as proposed during 2007-2013, described by different government agencies in different terms with different costs and benefits. The costs escalated greatly immediately prior to the July 2013 attempt by Sithe Global Power LLC to rush the National Assembly of Guyana into unequivocal support. At no time during these years did the President’s Office of Climate Change produce more than the 1½ pages of outline for Amaila Falls, in spite of the US$ >1 billion cost; certainly there is no public draft of a PCN presented or presentable to the GRIF Secretariat for release of US$ 80 million for purchase of equity.

Current President Donald Ramotar has shown little enthusiasm for promoting the Jagdeo schemes. Ramotar sometimes chairs the meetings of the LCDS MSSC but has not indicated significant support.

3. Outside partners focused mostly on compliance

Birdsall and Busch: The World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank were brought in as “partner entities” in executing specific projects in large part to ensure compliance of the government of Guyana with standard safeguards (fiduciary, social and environmental). But the focus of the banks on compliance with safeguards in the context of investment projects, particularly regarding procurement, appears to have eclipsed the institutions’ potential contribution to the broader policy dialogue on how Guyana might tackle such challenges as introducing new technologies that would encourage responsible (lower-deforestation and higher-productivity) mining; creating incentives for investment in industries adding value in logging; and encouraging job-creating eco-tourism. The outside institutions, including Norway itself, are in that sense “missing the forest for the trees” – focusing on sticks to prevent bad outcomes while neglecting carrots, including for the private sector, to encourage good outcomes.

Palmer: The World Bank is the Norwegian-designated trustee of the GRIF. Jagdeo strongly objected to conventional World Bank safeguards being applied to the GRIF and persuaded Norway to allow money to be filtered from the GRIF through the subsequent ‘Partner Entities’ (IDB and UNDP) allegedly because there are closer personal relationships with some of the local staff of those agencies and who might be more pliable. The Government of Guyana appeared surprised that the HQs of both IDB and UNDP have required, so far, compliance with their own sets of safeguards, even if not with the Common Approach safeguards agreed for the FCPF. Compliance with standard terms for procurement is only one of the issues which Jagdeo complained about. The agreed roles of the Partner Entities are primarily to prevent larceny of the GRIF money, and do not involve broader policy dialogue. There are other fora for policy-level discussions where IDB and UNDP can and do engage with GoGuyana. What you may be missing is that the sketchy LCDS is about the OCC being paid for business-as-usual in land use and exploitation of natural resources, not about REDD+ additivity, permanence and non-leakage – which phrases do not figure in the LCDS papers or MSSC meetings.

4. Uncertainty beyond 2015

Birdsall and Busch: A long-term shift in the development trajectory requires clarity that Guyana will be able to access financial support for low-carbon development beyond the end of the current MoU in 2015. And if commercial pressures increase further, the current transfers through the Norway agreement, though substantial, may not be sufficient to compensate for the opportunity costs of alternative economic activities. Even now the transfers are small relative to recent annual royalties associated with mining concessions (about $40 million a year compared to about $100 million in 2011).

Palmer: As GoGuyana has made no serious moves to implement the RGDP or to change policies or practices, it is not clear why NICFI should extend the lifetime of the MoU beyond 2015. Only two transfers of money have been made by Norway, the second in April 2011. NICFI (Per Pharo) made clear to the independent newspaper Stabroek News in December 2012 that Norwegian law and procedures did not allow more transfers until Guyana demonstrated good-faith spending. The rise in estimated areas of deforestation in 2012, known to the GoGuyana since at least mid-2013, has elicited absolutely no change in policies or practices. This is not surprising, as the extra government revenue from more gold (direct government revenue = 7 per cent on miners’ sales at the London bullion daily price of declared gold) exceeds by several multiples the small graduated Norwegian penalties. In other words, there is really no cash incentive from Norway to make any change in policy or practice; as pointed out to Norway by civil society in Guyana in early 2010. And with so much black money in circulation (40-60 per cent of the total economy, agreed by the IFIs) mainly from drug smuggling and money laundering in Guyana , the Norwegian money really isn’t worth bothering about when there are so many coastland problems of greater political significance.

Moreover, with the change to a more conservative government in Norway and the eclipse of the ambitious Minister Eric Solheim, it is unclear if Norway itself is interested in continuing to deal with the unresponsive Guyana.

Six Possibilities for the Partners to the Agreement to Explore

1. Tell, but also show: get benefits and reforms flowing quickly

Birdsall and Busch: Rapid disbursement of payments and implementation of reforms is necessary to support low-carbon development in contrast to mine-and-log development, and will increase local understanding in a way that consultations alone cannot.

Palmer: GoGuyana has shown no interest in reforms in the forestry or mining sectors, so why should Norway transfer more money? In any case, that would be contrary to Norwegian law and procedures. There is no obvious GoGuyana interest in low-carbon development, except as a topic for dialogue with some donors.

a. Use alternative financial instruments

Birdsall and Busch: For some existing or new LCDS activities, use alternative instruments to the conventional investment project: the World Bank Program-for-Results loan and/or small, targeted policy-based loans.

Palmer: The ruling PPP/C political party has no evident interest in evolving policy in natural resources. Good policy has been debated and approved by the National Assembly, the problem is no or only politically selective application of policy, strategy and legislation.

b. Other cash transfer procedures

Birdsall and Busch: Consider requesting some disbursements that do not need to go through government procurement, e.g. disbursements against a universal annual per-person cash transfer, as a means to more quickly share the benefits the Guyanese people’s forest stewardship (this could be closely linked to the size of the Norwegian transfer to signal the nature of the transfer). Alternatively or in addition, transfers could be made into a sovereign wealth fund from which interest could eventually be shared.

Palmer: As noted above, the deforestation reference level is set absurdly high, and the penalties for non-compliance are fiscally ineffective as a lever for changes in policy or practice. The interest of GoGuyana is in getting their hands on cash for doing nothing about reductions in emissions of forest or any other kind of emitted carbon. Consequently, introducing unfamiliar mechanisms would be unlikely to stimulate change. There is no functional proposal for sharing income from carbon trading with the population of Guyana; the ‘opt-in’ mechanism for titled Amerindian Villages is still stuck at the unworkable and poorly defined proposal of March 2010, although at least two later versions have been floated through the LCDS MSSC.

c. Fund for paying consultants

Birdsall and Busch: Request use of a portion of the annual payment to set up a separate fund for Guyana to buy advice from an agreed positive list of consultants, non-profits and other entities and agencies; this could be set up on a revolving basis.

Palmer: It is unclear how this would be different from current arrangements.

d. Ex-post evaluation of compliance with safeguards

Birdsall and Busch: Request more use of an ex post approach to safeguards by partner entities. There may be opportunities within existing investment programs under the LCDS to shift application of some safeguards from upfront hurdles to ex post auditing and independent evaluations (ie. “trust but verify”), as has been done for consultations, monitoring of carbon, and governance indicators.

Palmer: The IFIs have abundant experience that the GoGuyana does not comply with conditionality in donor contracts, taking the view that the more scrupulous donors will in time shift annoying staff to other posts. The introduction of Partner Entities by the Government of Guyana was precisely to avoid the attention of the inquisitive and sceptical World Bank in favour of IDB and UNDP which at that time (2009-2010) were staffed with Resident Representatives who were viewed by GoGuyana as malleable (to put it mildly).

e. Expand the list of Partner Entities

Birdsall and Busch: Expand the list of partner entities to include delivery partners from civil society (e.g. Iwokrama) that can more rapidly translate funding into action and understanding on the ground.

Palmer: The personalized, corrupt and racist approach of the ruling PPP/C and the government agencies under PPP/C domination would not lead to contracts with honest players. Note how the GoGuyana detests the Transparency Institute of Guyana Inc. (TIGI) and the Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA) and the Amerindian Peoples Association (APA) even when these entities are mild and unthreatening compared with their counterparts in other countries. Iwokrama is currently compromised and far from independent, as well as effectively bankrupt.

2. Begin dialogue now on the next round of partnership

Birdsall and Busch: Starting a dialogue early will provide confidence in the continuity of the LCDS within Guyana, and will have positive repercussions in broadcasting a shared perception of success to the rest of the world.

Palmer: The ruling Party’s front men are indeed engaged with Norway, allegedly to persuade the Norwegians to shift the money from the GRIF to a local Foundation that is closely aligned with the ruling Party. The LCDS is understood to be just one of the many scams associated with the Jagdeo regime during 1999-2011. The LCDS is widely criticized now in the independent Press, after two civil Court cases (for alleged libel) which are still in slow progress but clearly not the anticipated easy wins for Jagdeo and his crony-capitalist business associates.

With respect, your proposals would have been reasonable in a reasonable country. Guyana is, sadly, still ruled by an avowedly Marxist-socialist regime operating in practice as a haven for drug smugglers, gun runners, money launderers and people traffickers, alongside general criminality by crony capitalists closely allied with the apex of Government, summed up by the pre-eminent local economist as ‘The State as a vehicle for criminal enterprise’ (C Y Thomas, director of the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Guyana). At the most charitable one could say that the ambitious Minister Solheim in Norway was heedless of warnings about the nature of Jagdeo and the GoGuyana regime, and that NICFI was both naïve and almost criminally irresponsible in continuing a financial relationship with GoGuyana when that government had and has no evident intention of reducing carbon emissions through changes in policies or practices.

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  1. Great analysis, and all too recognisable from a Paraguayan perspective, where the Government is currently applying for almost 4 million USD World Bank readiness funding while it is unable to explain what happened with the original 4 million it received from UN-REDD to get ready for REDD 3 years ago.