The Guianas is in a unique position to build a truly just green economy. Governments and the business sector show willingness to embrace sustainability, and indigenous and tribal peoples have long called for a new way of thinking, along with academia and civil society.
The Guianas can grow a healthy and sustainable future, while at the same time addressing threats for its natural resources, such as irresponsible gold mining, unsustainable fishing, unnecessary forest loss, poaching and excessive wildlife harvesting. An emerging and major challenge is the oil and gas sector that will the shape the future of Suriname and Guyana for decades to come.
To build a green and just economy while recovering from the impact of the Covid-19 crisis our countries need strong institutions that serve the interests of the people, companies that operate with the highest standards and a strong civil society.
The exploitation of offshore oil and gas poses a major challenge to build a truly green economy. Guyana and Suriname must acknowledge that they have made the sovereign choice to exploit to become large oil producers, while at the same time the world transitions away from fossil fuels. This should demonstrate by abiding by the highest international environmental and social standards, good governance, transparancy in decision making and the ability to hold oil companies more accountable for their contribution to the climate crisis.
In this challenging environment WWF-Guianas advocates with partners to lay the foundation for a sustainable economy. This must be incorporated in a national development plan for Guyana and Suriname to be perceived a credible partners in the fight against climate change and to avoid the label of green washing.
If the Guianas demonstrates good governance, transparancy and a responsible policy in phasing out fossil fuels to build a green and just economy it will become a beacon of hope for the world.