By Will Bugler
The Government of Guyana is urging local organisations, like businesses, NGOs, and others, to join the fight against climate change. Climate change will have serious consequences for the people of Guyana, but cutting carbon emissions and protecting the country from extreme weather events is costly. Finance made available through the Green Climate Fund can help Guyana to prepare for climate change. A new programme being implemented by the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre is raising awareness among Guyanese organisations about how to apply to the fund and respond to climate-related threats.
In Guyana, preparing for the impacts of climate change is paramount. The low-lying coastal zone is home to 90% of the country’s population and particularly at risk. Climate change is causing sea levels to rise, and increasing the frequency of powerful storms and extreme rainfall. These can lead to destructive flooding; in 2005 alone, catastrophic floods cost the country 60% of its GDP or US$494.9 million. It has been estimated that in order to implement climate change adaptation measures, including infrastructural development works, Guyana will require an additional US$ 1.6 billion in the period to 2025.
While the costs of taking action on climate change are high, the costs of doing nothing will be far higher. For example, with large coastal areas sitting between 0.5 and 1 meters below sea level, including Georgetown, sea level rise poses a serious threat to coastal populations, increasing the likelihood of coastal flooding. Substantial financial and human resources are necessary to build the resilience needed in Guyana. However, it is also imperative that an enabling environment is created to encourage adaptation and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
It is an established fact that every dollar spent on building resilience saves four dollars on avoided losses. Resilience building measures might include improved sea defences, reinforced mangrove forests, and improved agricultural practices. Emission reductions and resilience building provide returns on investments that any entrepreneur would want to pursue.
Funding from the Green Climate Fund will support initiatives aimed at preparing Guyana for an uncertain climatic future. The Government of Guyana has already started to engage with the Green Climate Fund. Minister of State, Joseph Harmon has been appointed as the National Designated Authority (NDA) and the Office of Climate Change, Ministry of the Presidency serves as the Secretariat.
Currently, Guyana is benefitting from a grant from the Fund to strengthen institutional capacity and prepare a country programme to guide future engagement with the Green Climate Fund according to clearly defined development goals. The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre is implementing this new programme – ‘Capacity Building of the National Designated Authority (NDA) and Preparation of the Country Strategic Framework of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana (CRG)’ – which will help businesses, NGOs and government agencies access funding from the Fund.
In addition, more funding proposals are being prepared for the agriculture, forestry and energy sectors to help strengthen these sectors’ response to climate change. Access to the funding requires organisations to go through a challenging accreditation process. This new programme provides guidance to help organisations decide if accreditation is right for them.
In 2018, the Government plans to work closely with the private sector to enhance their capacity to access resources from the Fund. These resources will be instrumental in preparing the country’s long-term response to climate change, helping Guyana to prosper socially and economically.
For more information about Guyana’s engagement with the Green Climate Fund please contact the Office of Climate Change, Ministry of the Presidency: email@example.com
 The programme is known as “Capacity Building of National Designated Authority (NDA) and Preparation of the Country Strategic Framework of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana (CRG)”
 Government of Guyana (2009) Via http://reliefweb.int/report/guyana/us125m-idb-project-upgrade-guyanas-disaster-risk-management-capabilities
 (CDB, 2017)