Recognizing that a collaborative effort is needed to battle the harsh effects of climate change, the Peace Corps and the Office of the President on Wednesday inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), demonstrating a strong commitment to environmental stewardship and Guyana’s sustainability efforts.
The MoU was inked at the Office of the President by Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance Gail Teixeira and Peace Corp Country Director Dr. Nadine Rogers.
US Ambassador Sarah Ann Lynch, a former Peace Corps Volunteer herself, said that the renewed agreement comes as the need for impactful action on climate change requires strong international cooperation and local engagement.
She added that “…through this new agreement, the Peace Corps can continue to contribute to environmental education and awareness in Guyana with the inclusion of ecological fundamentals, climate science, biodiversity, ecosystems services, global and local environmental issues and how to address them.”
With the MoU signed, it will see developmental efforts in the areas of biodiversity protection, management of water resources and building Guyana’s blue economy to exercise sovereignty.
Giving background on the Peace Corps work in Guyana, Dr. Rogers shared that though it has been a strong contributor to the country’s development efforts since 1966, many of the volunteers were called back to the US following the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the Peace Corp volunteers will soon restart operations in Guyana with the MoU signed, she said.
Minister Teixeira in her remarks stated that given Guyana’s continued emphasis on environmental preservation, it is encouraging to know that the country will be able to restart efforts championed by the Peace Corps to help educate the next generation and build capacity in environmental stewardship.
The signing of the MoU, according to her, continues the longstanding relationship between the Peace Corps and Guyana, and with the ever-present threat of climate change, the collaboration is welcomed.
“This MoU offers the opportunity for the Peace Corp volunteers to assist Guyana but also provides the opportunity for them to experience living and working in a country that is vulnerable to climate change but also one that is actively taking steps to mitigate against its impacts on our people and our nation,” Minister Teixeira said.
Guyana’s low coastal plain where 85% of the population inhabits is particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change and already, the effects are increasing rearing its head with marked increases in temperatures, sea levels and frequent and intense rainfall.
But the county has made headway to address the threat, according to the Governance Minister, with the continued commitment to the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDs) which would transform Guyana’s economy to a low carbon sustainable development trajectory while also combating climate change.
Furthermore, Minister Teixeira related that the government is presently in the process of revising the 2013 LCDs to include wider coverage for environmental services, water resources management, climate resilience, biodiversity, renewable energy, the marine economy and land management.
And even further, the Minister revealed too that Guyana may soon see the establishment of an International Centre for Excellence for Biological Diversity with the objective of promoting cutting-edge research, development and exportation of educational services.