December 09, 2010
Sitting across from Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, President Bharrat Jagdeo said his country had yet to see the any of the $30 million in funds allocated by Norway for the small South American country's progress in reducing deforestation from a project baseline over the past year. Jagdeo placed blame squarely on the World Bank, which is administering the funds.
Amazon rainforest canopy. Photo by Rhett A. Butler.
Jagdeo said he agreed with Norway in the need for results-based finance, but added "What I have a problem with is when I deliver the results I can't get the money."
Jagdeo said the delay risks undermining the political capital needed to carry out his ambitious plan to shift Guyana toward a low carbon development model that spares its vast rainforest, which is larger than England. Jagdeo's plan includes solar installations, land title, and small grants for indigenous families.
"Once the results are delivered, the money should be delivered so we can deliver political will."
Guyana President Bharrat Jagdeo.
Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg. Photos courtesy of AD Partners.
Noting that Norway has some of the world's highest taxes, especially on oil consumption, Stoltenberg said: “It’s hard to win elections on a message of high taxation. We won election last year but you never know, elections are uncertain things.”
He added that the government faces a lot of pressure to ensure that Norway's money is well spent.
"Results-based finance is the best way to mobilize political will."
But both Stoltenberg and Jagdeo emphasized the importance of coming to an agreement on REDD.
Jagdeo closed by arguing for a good global agreement that includes deep cuts in emissions levels and room for the private sector. He added a price signal of $20 to $25 per ton of CO2 would be the best way to bring restore private sector interest in REDD, which has stagnated as policymakers have failed to reach an agreement on a REDD framework over the past year.
"We don't want to have to rely on public sector financing in the long term."