GEORGETOWN, Guyana, July 6, (CMC) – Guyana has launched a Building Resilience and Sustainable Livelihood: Mainstreaming Disaster Risk Management/Disaster Risk Reduction (DRM/DRR) project, with a senior government minister underscoring the need to deal with the impact of climate change on agriculture.
The US$300,000 project is being funded by Japan with supervision of the United Nations Development Project (UNDP) and the Food and Organization (FAO).
Agriculture Minister, Noel Holder, noted the importance of implementing enhanced disaster risk management mechanisms to offset the impact climate change has had on agriculture production in Guyana.
“With the kind of economic losses and developmental setbacks that Guyana has experienced because of El Nino or drought-like periods and La Nina-related floods, particularly since 2000, it makes good economic sense to invest in prevention and mitigation of disasters,” he said.
He said while the issue of disaster risk reduction is not entirely new to the agriculture sector, the development of the Disaster Risk Management Plan for the Agriculture Sector in 2013, represented the first attempt at a holistic framework for mainstreaming disaster risk reduction into the agricultural sub-sectors.
Holder echoed the call for the critical masses to be fully equipped with knowledge and skills to direct the transformation, for the needed change to occur.
“We therefore thank the government of Japan, UNDP, FAO and other partners for supporting us in this project, which is in line with the guiding principles of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, and the global call for governance within Disaster Risk Reduction” he said.
Japan Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago, Mitsuhiko Okada, spoke of the importance disaster risk management plays and pledged the continued support of Tokyo to Guyana.
In February, the Japanese government approved the US300,000 to support Disaster Risk Management (DRM) in Guyana; which, according to the diplomat, will significantly aid in strengthening the system.
Meanwhile, FAO’s Deputy Sub-Regional Coordinator for the Caribbean, Dr. Lystra Fletcher-Paul, pointed to some of the impacts natural disasters pose to the Caribbean annually.
In 1998, as a result of drought, 35 percent of Guyana’s rice fields were left uncultivated, due to insufficient water.
“There is a direct link between disaster and food insecurity….they interrupt market access, trade and food supply, reduce income and employment, deplete saving and erode livelihood,” Dr. Fletcher-Paul said.