The Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission is currently undertaking several critical projects. Among them is the Mainstreaming Sustainable Land Development and Management Project. This project is being implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
The components of the project include; Land reclamation and development, implementation of a land classification system, and other requirements to facilitate optimal land utilization and sustainable land development and management. The project also caters for the development and operationalization of GL&SC’s business plan, Institutional strengthening of GL&SC and capacity development of Stakeholders and young population as well as to Strengthen GL&SC’s Information System and Infrastructure for informed decision making and to increase Education, communication, outreach and public awareness raising.
A team from the implementing body FAO is currently in Guyana engaging the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission on the project. The engagement will be ongoing until next Wednesday.
On Monday, July 23, 2018, Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer of the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission, Mr. Trevor L. Benn, welcomed the team to Guyana but expressed frustration at the slow pace in which work is being conducted. Noting that this project is extremely important to the Government and People of Guyana, Mr. Benn, told the FAO delegation that he is not satisfied with the pace of implementation of the project.
Stressing that the approach which has been taken so far must be reviewed, Mr. Benn, told the FAO representatives he will be looking forward to seeing a more collaborative and proactive approach to the project implemented.
Mr. Benn made clear that his utterances should not be been seen as a personal attack to any of the FAO representatives but said Guyana is starving for some success stories. He said currently a number of projects are being implemented in Guyana by international agencies but many of them are not performing to the expectation of the Guyanese people. “We can’t say with any sense of pride, that we are close to completing these projects, and we cannot add another project to that, I am not prepared to sit here as CEO and watch that happen”. Mr. Benn stated.
The FAO team is being headed by Ms. Sally Bunning, Senior Policy Officer, Agricultural systems, land, and water FAO also include; Mr. Vladimir Evtimov, FAO Land administration Officer and Ms. Aurelie Bres, Land Tenure and Natural Resources Officer, FAO.Ms. Bunning admitted that indeed there were some challenges encountered but promised to work hand in hand with the GLSC to ensure that the project is successfully implemented.
While in Guyana, the team will also conduct visits to several regions and also meet with national and regional officials.
It is the hope of Mr. Benn that the next few days will be used to iron out all existing matters. The project was officially launched on January 18, 2018, and the components will run concurrently over a period of four years. It is being funded by the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF) at the cost of US$14.8M.