The Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Government of Guyana is implementing an “ambitious programme” to improve the wellbeing of indigenous communities, Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, the Honourable Valerie Garrido-Lowe, recently stated at a UN Forum in New York.
Ms. Garrido-Lowe made this disclosure during the sixteenth session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, which is currently being held at United Nations Headquarters in New York. The meeting is scheduled to end on Friday 5 May. She used the opportunity to provide an update on initiatives being taken by the Government of Guyana to improve the wellbeing of indigenous communities in Guyana in keeping with the obligations set out in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples adopted by the General Assembly in September 2007.
She noted that funds were released to indigenous communities across the ten administrative regions of Guyana to execute community development projects. “These funds are garnered both from our collaboration with the Government of Norway in the area of climate change as well as from provisions in our annual budget,” she said. The Honourable Minister further emphasized that, “given the “green” development pathway that my Government is pursuing, community development projects must be environmentally sound and should also conform to the objectives that we have set out to achieve in Agenda 2030.”
Minister Garrido-Lowe is representing Guyana at the Forum at which stakeholders are calling for greater inclusion of indigenous peoples in global efforts to achieve the development goals set out in the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. Participants represent indigenous communities worldwide, including from Latin America.
During deliberations, she also outlined Government’s action to address, among other areas, the protection and preservation of indigenous languages and cultural heritage, the empowerment of women and development of youth, strengthening the delivery of social services, particularly in health and education, land titling, and to enact legislation in compliance with current international human rights law. The Government is about to begin consultations with relevant stakeholders with a view to early finalization of the new legislation, the Honourable Minister stated.
The Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues was established in July 2000 as an advisory body to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), one of the three main organs of the United Nations, which has the mandate to discuss economic and social development, culture, and human rights as they relate to indigenous communities worldwide.