The Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment (MNRE) today met with its stakeholders to discuss the first draft of its Strategic Plan which will be used as a guide for the management of the agencies that fall under the purview of the ministry. The consultation intends to add value to the strategy, thereby making it home grown.
The development of the plan is being supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the consultancy responsible for its development is Strategic Environmental Advice (SEA).
Some of the priorities outlined in the draft plan include effective institutional framework and legislation, holistic and integrated planning, sustainable resources use and monitoring and cross cutting issues.
Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, Robert Persaud emphasised that the objective of the consultation was to have varying views from different perspectives, as the document is looked at in its current form and how it can be bettered to ensure that it truly represents the views and aspirations of Guyanese.
“This document we do hope, once completed, would enjoy the buy-in of stakeholders in the political sphere, civil society…the ordinary man and woman wherever they live and whatever activity they are engaged in… that they will see the relevance of the strategy in moving our country’s development forward,” he said.
Minister Persaud explained that over the years a more compartmentalised approach has been taken in terms of the management of the natural resources and environment sector. “What we are hoping to do with the creation of the MNRE is to bring about a level of harmonisation, cohesion and better coordination and everyone would certainly be welcoming to this whole notion that we need to move away from the compartmentalised approach,” Minister Persaud stressed.
This is one of the primary objectives of the Ministry, and the strategy is also intended to accelerate emphasis in that area, he added.
Minister Persaud noted that Guyana has a set of legal and institutional frameworks that date back to the 1800s. In this regard, it is hoped and expected from the strategy, that the legislative framework will be reviewed so as to determine where there are overlaps and where adjustments can be had, thereby making it more relevant to today.
The management and utilisation of Guyana’s resources are also key elements. “We have always used the word sustainable and for me it’s becoming a bit archaic now, and I think we need to migrate from sustainable to smart use of our natural resources so that we can bring maximum benefits not only for today, but also for future generations,” Minister Persaud highlighted. It is hoped that the strategy will lead the Ministry down that pathway.
The Minister also emphasised the need for better monitoring and compliance particularly since that is an area that has been lacking. In this regard, there is need for the regulatory agencies to make sure there is a level of compliance, enforcement and monitoring that meets national standards, satisfy the legislation and also ensures that Guyana meets the international benchmarks.
In recognition of the commitment shown by the UNDP, Minister Persaud expressed appreciation for the pace with which they responded, jump-starting the process of developing the strategic plan.
Deputy Resident Representative- UNDP, Chisa Mikami in her presentation recognised that the efforts of the staff of the MNRE, UNDP and the consultants enabled the work to be done in half the time.
She stated that succeeding without a plan is possible however; the lack of a strategy plan has the danger of negatively impacting on the attitude of an organisation’s employees since they see it as an organisation without purpose.
While the preparation of a plan can be time consuming and strenuous, Mikami stressed the importance for organisations to have one because it is the means by which they can grow and be high performing, create their own future, provide a framework and a focus for improvement and efforts, optimise operational systems, provide guidance for day to day decisions, provide learning opportunities for leaders and means for assessing progress.
In this regard the draft plan provides the framework for consideration as the new ministry charts its future in terms of the programmes and services it offers while the views/suggestions brought forward in the consultation will form the basis for determining the priority areas.