Climate Vulnerability of Guyana's Farming

Lorene C. Flaming

Lorene C. Flaming

The Guyana coastline, which forms the north-eastern part of the South American coast between the deltas of the Amazon River to the southeast and the Orinoco River to the northwest, extends some 425 km from the Waini to the Corentyne rivers.

Nearly 90% of Guyana’s population live on the coastal plain, much of which sits below mean sea level (typically around 0.5–1 metre below at the low-level mark) and is thus highly vulnerable to flooding.

Agricultural activity in Guyana depends on the characteristic landform of the at coastal physical structure formed by a clay belt located about 1.4m below sea level, protected by an engineered sea defence system. The deterioration of the old network of sea and river defenses has led in past years to flooding of agricultural and residential land by sea water, which continues to threaten the coastal strip where most of Guyana’s farmland lies. Climate change has amplified the risk and vulnerability of the communities living in the coastal strip. Any poverty reduction and development effort in Guyana heavily depends on the maintenance and rehabilitation of the sea defence infrastructure system.

 

Seawall in Guyana’s coastline

 

OIKO worked with ECORYS to facilitate with the Ministry of Government to draft a policy and for the “improvement of living conditions in the coastal zone, stimulation of economic growth and reduction of poverty”.

The team worked closely with the Ministry of Public Infrastructure and the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) facilitating policy dialogue between the Government and stakeholders to produce a Poverty Reduction Support Program and climate resilient measures to protect coastal areas in Guyana.

These tools were designed to promote climate change adaptation and resilience in Guyana, while also taking account of a sustainable integrated coastal zone management approach that protects vulnerable communities and supports gender equality.

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