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EPA’s role must expand to develop economic models for biodiversity, ecological services – President Ali

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President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali has emphasised the significance of expanding the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) role to include regulatory oversight and the development of ecological and climate services.

Empowered by the Environmental Protection Act, the EPA plays a crucial role in supervising environmental activities, issuing permits for development projects, and enforcing regulations, positioning itself as a cornerstone of the nation’s development.

President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali delivers feature address at the EPA’s 28th Anniversary Dinner and Awards Ceremony

While discussions are underway on the economy’s diversification through the oil and gas, manufacturing, and industrial sectors, climate services must be seen as vital components of the country’s economic evolution.

For this reason, the head of state emphasised the importance of creating economic models and frameworks, urging the EPA to take on this responsibility and develop the necessary abilities to advance these services.

He was at the time delivering the feature address Sunday evening, at the agency’s 28th Anniversary Dinner and Awards Ceremony.   

“There is no modelling as yet globally…We have to do a lot of this thinking work, we’ll have to do a lot of this theoretical work…We have already committed to the world that we are going to take on this responsibility, and that would require the EPA, in its policy orientation, to develop this ability so that we can move one step forward,” President Ali underscored.

In addition to enforcing laws and regulations, President Ali urged EPA employees to embrace innovation, continuous learning, and knowledge acquisition in its mandate.

“When you’re at the centre of everything, you have to be aware and the only way you can be aware is by continuous learning, continuous knowledge, and importantly, the love for reading. Reading and understanding where our country is going,” he stressed.  

President Ali reiterated the government’s commitment to sustainable development, as outlined in the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) 2030, which has positioned Guyana as a leader in forest and biodiversity conservation.

He also highlighted their strategic plan to revitalise and maintain the “green parks” through modernisation efforts, to promote this model on an international scale.

“We are also aligning a lot of our environmental standards and changes to the legislation now with those of the U.S because, in our strategic discussions, the type of development that is taking place in the Western Hemisphere requires an alignment in terms of our regulations and our law.

We are still on this journey of finding the best practices but we also have an opportunity to showcase best practices that originate out of Guyana,” he stated.

Meanwhile, President Ali congratulated the awardees for their outstanding work at the EPA, while emphasising the responsibility they are entrusted with in overseeing, regulating, and monitoring development projects. According to him, the event serves as a celebration, as well as an opportunity to understand where the agency is headed in the future.

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