Guiana Shield Strategic Dialogue opens in Guyana with focus on Security and Climate Change

Guiana Shield Strategic Dialogue opens in Guyana with focus on Security and Climate Change

The Guiana Shield Strategic Dialogue 2024 opened at the Guyana Marriott Hotel today, with calls from Guyana, Suriname, Brazil and France for countries in the Guiana Sheild to jointly confront the security and environmental challenges that pose a significant threat to the region.

Covering 270 million hectares, the Guiana Shield encompasses French Guiana, Suriname, Guyana, Venezuela and parts of Colombia and Brazil. 

Minister of Defense of Suriname, Krishna Mathoera said the “do it alone” approach will not work as the countries in the Guiana Shield confront growing security and environmental challenges. 

“As we improve our efforts in the defense cooperation in the Guiana Sheild we are witnessing a road, rapidly becoming more dangerous. Wars in two parts of the world, which have major impact on our society and our security, advanced technology used in the wars, new defense systems, new forms of aggression among other challenges such as natural disasters, illegal immigration, cyber security, and organized crimes,” the Surinamese Defense Minister said. 

Mathoera said the existing, new and emerging challenges pose a direct threat to the region’s development strategies and security. She said the region’s freedom and prosperity depends on security, and those in the Guiana Shield must therefore commit themselves to the shared responsibility of combating all threat that put a strain on the region’s security. 

Prime Minister Mark Phillips, while underscoring the importance of having all countries form part of the Guiana Shield Strategic Dialogue, said climate change poses a considerable threat to the Guiana Shield affecting weather patterns, biodiversity and ecosystem resilience.

He noted that rising temperatures, and more frequent extreme events can disrupt ecosystem, and place added pressure on the region’s forest and fresh water resources.

“The challenges facing the Guiana Shield require a concerted and collaborative effort. We must forge partnerships and renew our shared commitment to protecting this invaluable region. The power of partnerships must always be emphasized in cross national interest. We must seek to harness the power of collective action to address the root causes of environmental degradation and ensure the long-term sustainability of the Guiana Shield,” the Prime Minister explained. 

Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn, who is heading the Guyanese Delegation, told those present that the Dialogue forms part of a pivotal journey in the crafting of a common security master plan for countries in the Guiana Shield. 

“Over the next few days our dialogue will serve as a forum for robust discussions, collaboration and strategic planning, aimed at strengthening the framework for the Guiana Shield Strategic Dialogue. Together, we will delve into the intricate dynamics of our defense and security dynamics with a keen focus on key areas including border issues, combatting illicit trafficking, maritime security and addressing the urgent challenges posed by climate change,” he explained. 

He said the 2024 Dialogue being hosted by the Guyana Defense Force, will build on the foundations laid during the previous editions of this dialogue, particularly on the outcome of the 2023 common security masterplan. 

He said it presents a unique opportunity to further solidify their collective commitment to safeguarding the peace, stability and prosperity of the Guiana Shield Region. 

Officials from Brazil and France were also present during the opening of the dialogue. 

(Svetlana Marshall)

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