Odacy

Odacy Davis

Iwokrama International Centre
Guyana

Developing Future Scenarios for Guyana

Workshop

June 7, 2012

As part of WP3, “Identifying future scenarios of social-ecological resilience for indigenous communities”, a national level workshop on developing Future Scenarios took place on Tuesday 8th and Wednesday 9th May 2012 at the Dr. Cheddi Jagan Research Centre (Red House), High Street, Kingston Georgetown.

Project Cobra – Creative Commons

The objectives of this event were to invite a range of stakeholders to discuss and develop future scenarios for Guyana by answering the following questions:

  • What are the current drivers that stakeholders see as important for the future of Guyana?
  • What would Guyana look like in the future (next 20 years, 2030)?

Mr. Rob Glastra of IUCN Netherlands and Dr. Jay Mistry of Royal Holloway University are coordinating the scenario development aspect of the COBRA project and they guided stakeholders in the process of developing future scenarios for Guyana. Apart from seven Project Team members, 28 other participants attended the two day workshop representing a combination of Government agencies, Non-governmental organizations, indigenous community leaders, academics and independent consultants. The workshop commenced with special remarks by Dr Raquel Thomas – Director of Natural Resource management & Training at IIC, followed by Mr. Lindsay Jones – Charge’ de Affaires of the European Union Delegation to Guyana and Mr. Sydney Allicock, former Chairman of NRDDB and currently Member of Parliament.

Project Staff Odacy Davis – Project Manager and Deirdre Jafferally – Doctoral Research Associate presented an overview and update on COBRA’s implementation in Guyana. Participatory Research Action and System viability concepts were also explained to the participants.

With this foundation we were prepared to embrace the purpose of the forum. Dr Jay Misty- Project Coordinator and Mr. Rob Glastra of IUCN Netherlands assisted participants in understanding the importance of scenarios and how they can be developed.

In addition to their assistance, two inspiring presentations were made by Major General (rtd) Joseph Singh – Vice Chairman of the Guyana Protected Areas Board and Ms. Vanda Radzik – Independent Consultant and renowned Social Activist. Together they presented a range of key drivers and emerging trends in Guyana – environmental, economical and socio-political opportunities and challenges.

Participants were teamed into four groups – each group identified key drivers then ranked the drivers in order of importance and level of certainty. After this exercise each group identified two drivers that were of high importance, but low certainty – these were used as the basis to develop four scenarios. Each group was encouraged to develop storylines for at least one scenario.

A “Market Place” exercise was then done, where each participant viewed the scenarios presented by each group and ranked the best group of scenario, most desirable individual scenario and most likely individual scenario.

The two days of developing future scenarios for Guyana were extremely productive for COBRA research. In addition, participants were advised on how they could apply the concept of developing future scenarios for the advancement of their organization, community, agency and profession.

The opening sessions of the workshop were recorded by a local media house and a news item focusing on the “forum and its benefits” was aired on national television in the evening of 8th May 2012.

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