Photo by unep.org
“Despite the fact that our economy is suffering because most of our productive land is being impacted by rising water levels, we do not want to wallow in endless complaints about the injustice that climate change represents. Instead, we want to be part of a global coalition that stimulates innovation and creativity to enable us to leapfrog over the high-carbon development path that today’s business-as-usual trajectory suggests we must follow.”--- said Guyana’s President Bharrat Jagdeo in his official website
|Guyana’s 45-year old president has gained international recognition for his position on environmental issues within his country and on the global scale.|
|As the president of a country with 40 million acres of untouched rainforest, Mr. Jagdeo has been urging donors and investors to pay for the protection of the forests. He intends to sell carbon credits and invite investment in eco-tourism. He is also encouraging investment in the pharmaceutical sector to make use of the medicinal plant resources that the forests offer.|
|With the money he expects to generate from such forest based industry and related business, President Jagdeo plans to improve the country’s coastal infrastructure to protect it from the potential rise in sea levels.|
|He has proposed that the UN adopts Guyana’s model on forest management under its Reduced Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) program. He has encouraged the rest of the world to live in a way “where protecting forests is more economically prudent than cutting them down”.
|As a consequence of President Jagdeo’s consistent advocacy for urgent action on climate change, Time Magazine and CNN named the President as one of their “Heroes of the Environment 2008”.|
|An economist by profession, he entered public service in Guyana’s State Planning Secretariat in 1990. After the restoration of democracy in Guyana in 1992, President Jagdeo became the Junior Minister of Finance. Rapid promotion ensued, and President Jagdeo became Senior Minister of Finance in 1995.|
|After the retirement of former President Janet Jagan due to illness, Mr Jagdeo was appointed as Guyana’s President in 1999. Aged 35, he was one of the youngest Heads of Government in the world. In 2001, President Jagdeo was elected as President, and was re-elected in September 2006.
|President Jagdeo is a powerful advocate of the need to conserve and more intelligently manage the planet’s natural and nature-based assets. He insists that a benefit of forests lies not only in combating climate change, but also in boosting development through employment generation, improved water supplies and the conservation of biodiversity.”