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Write on Monday, 19 March 2018 Published in News Stories

As the Government of Guyana moves ahead with the preparation of the Green State Development Strategy (GSDS), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) are providing technical support to align and mainstream the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into the GSDS. 

To this end, a workshop organized by the Ministry of the Presidency, Department of Environment with support from the Ministry of Finance was held at the Marriott Hotel on 15th and 16th March 2018. The workshop saw a gathering of participants representing the inter-Ministerial and multi-stakeholder Advisory Committee, members of the seven GSDS multi-stakeholder thematic expert groups, GSDS consultants, partners and senior government representatives. 

The workshop outlined the first draft of the GSDS Theory of Change and guided participants on multidimensional approaches to mainstreaming the 2030 Agenda, including use and application of three important tools: Theory of Change; systematic thinking / multidimensional, multi-actor approaches; and identification of accelerators to prioritize policy interventions with a bigger impact. 

The proceedings were facilitated by Gonzalo Pizarro, UNDP’s Regional Policy Adviser, Agenda 2030 and Development Planning, Sustainable Development and Resilience and Ivan Gonzalez de Alba, Regional Policy Adviser, Poverty Reduction and Sustainable Development. 

Hon. Joseph Harmon, Minister of State, reaffirmed Government’s commitment to the process noting the alignment of the SDGs with the GSDS as a crucial policy area. He explained that the GSDS is not just another document, but rather, is the vision and the expression of the ambition of the people of Guyana for a prosperous future in a sustainable environment. 

Minister Harmon said that “Guyana aspires to transition into a decarbonized and resource efficient economy that values and integrates the multi-ethnicity of our country and enhances the quality of life for all Guyanese. Guyana’s commitment to the 2030 Agenda is unequivocal.” 

Finance Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Dr. Hector Butts in his remarks noted that the GSDS must be used to guide policy development and in particular inform the contents of the National Budget. He reminded participants that the bottom line is “well-being”. 

Delivering the welcome and opening remarks, Director of the Department of Environment, Ndibi Schwiers explained that GSDS is intended to be the vehicle to drive Guyana’s attainment of Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, reflecting the objectives of the country and well-being of all Guyanese. 

She posited that the exercise started in 2017 and as a first step in this direction, a Rapid Integrated Assessment (RIA) was performed to establish how well Guyana’s existing planning documents and the framework of the GSDS reflect the subjects, ambition and scope of the SDGs. It is against this backdrop the workshop was organized. 

UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Mikiko Tanaka reminded the audience that the seventeen (17) SDGs are ambitious and transformational in their principle of leaving no one behind and once incorporated in the GSDS, countless benefits can be derived. 

Ms. Tanaka explained “Guyana’s Green State Development Strategy is for Guyana but is also a contribution to the world. We all need to work together in broader and deeper partnerships that will let us foster social progress, protect the environment, drive economic growth and create a more just, stable and peaceful world.” 

UNDP’s Deputy Resident Representative, Shabnam Mallick explained that the workshop is part of a longer process that UNDP is supporting towards formulating the GSDS. She said that UNDP has the knowledge base and tools to support the development of the Theory of Change for the GSDS and identification of its targets. 

The next steps will include the validation of the targets and the final formulation of GSDS document, for which a group of consultants will be working on soon. 

The GSDS is Guyana’s long term national development strategy which is anchored in the principles of an inclusive green economy model. 

View the workshop image gallery here.

Write on Friday, 08 September 2017 Published in News Stories

The National Tobacco Bill No. 5 of 2017 was passed in the National Parliament of Guyana on July 27th, 2017.

According to reports from the Department of Public Information (DPI), the legislation seeks to protect present and future generations from the devastating harms of tobacco use and exposure to tobacco smoke;

According to reports from the Department of Public Information (DPI), the legislation seeks to protect present and future generations from the devastating harms of tobacco use and exposure to tobacco smoke; to prevent tobacco use by minors; to protect workers and the public from exposure to tobacco smoke; to prevent exposure of the public, especially minors, to tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship; to enhance public awareness of the hazards of tobacco use and exposure to tobacco smoke; to ensure that every person is provided with effective health warnings about the harms of tobacco use and exposure to tobacco smoke; to regulate the tobacco industry, its products and sales; to protect public health policies from the commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry; and to provide for other related matters.

Leading the process for the presentation of the Bill was Honourable Ms Volda Lawrence, Minister of Public Health. In her presentation, Minister Lawrence established that the Bill seeks to provide for the adoption of and implementation of tobacco control policies, with the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control to which Guyana acceded since September 2005.

Other speakers included Ministers Karen Cummings, George Norton, Catherine Hughes, Annette Ferguson; and Members of Parliament Mr. Charrandas Persaud and Jermaine Figueira. It is anticipated that the Bill will be ready for full implementation in the next nine months.

Witnessing the passage of the Bill was Dr. William Adu-Krow,PAHO/WHO Representative Guyana, Mrs Rose Nathan of the Tobacco Free Kids Initiative , USA: Ms Kesaundra Alves, Attorney-at-Law responsible for the drafting of the tobacco legislation and Ms. Karen Roberts, Specialist, Non-Communicable Diseases and Family Health, PAHO/WHO Guyana Country Office. Support for the finalization of the Bill was provided by Mr. Charles-Fung-a-Fatt and other members of the AttorneyGeneral’s Chambers.

The link below for you to read the article published by Department of Public Information (DPI) GINA.

Source: PAHO Guyana

Write on Wednesday, 31 May 2017 Published in Newsletter

In March, the United Nations Country Team (UNCT) along with technical agencies representatives from resident and non-resident agencies journeyed to Lethem, Region 9 for the annual UNCT retreat.

UNCT members and agencies representatives engaged in various group discussions, which saw presentations not only by staff but, also by implementing partners such as the Ministry of Public Health, civil society and non-governmental organisations. The team also went on field visits to experience firsthand the work being done by some indigenous communities through projects funded by agencies. Visits were made to a cassava factory in Wowetta, a poultry rearing project in Rupertee, a water catchment project in Annai, and a cattle rearing project in Aranaputa.

Retreat meeting with officialsAdditionally, the team met with Region 9 officials to inform about the United Nations Multi-country Sustainable Development Framework (UNMSDF) and discuss possible areas of collaboration between the Region and the United Nations System. The team also experienced the culture of the Region at a reception; there were presentations of local dances and members enjoyed sampling local food.   

The retreat focused on planning to strengthen the strategic position of the UNCT to support the development objectives of the Government of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana through the regional joint programmes.

Write on Wednesday, 31 May 2017 Published in Newsletter

A new cooperation strategy between the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and Guyana sets out actions over the next three years to reduce the burden of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and strengthen the country’s health system to advance toward universal health.

PAHO strategy signingThe strategy, signed on February 6, 2917 by PAHO Director Carissa F. Etienne and Minister of Health Volda Lawrence, was developed through a consultative process involving a range of national actors. The agreement is aligned with Guyana’s 2013-2020 National Health Strategy “Health Vision 2020” and is linked to related plans adopted by the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations and other collaboration partners, facilitating an intersectoral approach to priority health problems.

“This strategy is strategically connected to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which seek to end poverty, protect our planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity,” said Dr. Etienne, who was in Guyana at the time for an official visit. “We can contribute to the country’s development and help every person to achieve the highest attainable level of health.”

The new agreement is the third cooperation strategy PAHO and the Government of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana have signed to identify priority medium-term health actions.

The Minister of Public Health said the strategy “will help the country face health challenges” and will contribute to “strengthening health services to advance closer to the goal of universal coverage.” PAHO’s technical cooperation, she added, will also “make it possible to reduce morbidity and mortality from noncommunicable diseases.”

NCDs are the leading cause of illness and death in Guyana, although infectious diseases remain a significant burden. Violence and injuries, which include suicide, are among the country’s top 10 causes of death and are also addressed in the new strategy.

Though Guyana faces many health challenges, it also has made significant progress in health. This includes increased life expectancy; reductions in infant and maternal mortality; reductions in chronic disease incidence, prevalence and mortality; high levels of vaccination coverage; greater awareness of environmental health; and improvements in water and sanitation infrastructure.

Write on Wednesday, 31 May 2017 Published in Newsletter

In an effort to acquaint himself with the current situation of the epidemic and response and advocacy for the prioritization of HIV and AIDS the United Nations Secretary General’s (UN SG) Special Envoy on HIV & AIDS in the Caribbean, Dr. Edward Greene visited Guyana in February, 2017.

During the mission, the UN SG Special envoy met the UN Resident Coordinator a.i., Ms. Sylvie Fouet, who briefed him on the need to ensure that Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) is part of the primary health care and not a vertical programme. She stressed that to achieve this vision, strengthening health systems is pertinent. She also emphasized the importance of child friendly services that can encourage teenagers to use HIV and AIDS as well as other reproductive health services.

UNAIDS ASG visitThe Special Envoy also met the Minister of Public Health, Hon. Volda Lawrence as well as staff from the Ministry. Discussion with the Minister centred around advocacy for implementation of the UN 2016 Political Declaration targets including the 90-90-90 treatment targets and eliminating mother to child transmission of HIV and stigma as well as discussion of bottlenecks in the AIDS response such as human resource constraints. The Minister assured the Special Envoy that recruitment of new Health Workers for the National AIDS Programme is being undertaken to addresses the bottlenecks. UNAIDS Country Director, Dr. Martin Odiit and Director of the Pan Caribbean Partnership against HIV/AIDS (PANCAP), Mr. Dereck Springer accompanied the Special Envoy to this meeting.

Future actions from the United Nations will be the provision of support to the Ministry of Public Health for the Global Fund HIV programme continuation request and sustainability assessment analysis.