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A feature by Marvin A. Hokstam
PARAMARIBO, Suriname–When John Goedschalk returned to Suriname in 2008, never did he know that he would be tasked a few years later with structuring the climate change adaptation efforts of his country of birth. Goedschalk, a US trained economist was named as Director of the Climate Compatible Development Agency, which, resorting directly under President Desi Bouterse, will formulate Government’s climate change policies and lead the execution of the Climate Compatible Development Strategy (CCDS).
“We owe it to our children to prepare ourselves for the effects climate change will have on our country,” the President said at the installation. The charter of the agency mentions that Suriname is among the five countries that are threatened most by climate change, which also places the country among nations that have access to funding to face its effects. “Suriname’s Government considers it important to support and lead its climate change policies from a central coordination point, in cooperation with all institutes that have linkages with climate change, mitigation, adaptation and forest conservation,” the charter reads. Aside from formulating and executing the Climate Change Development Strategy, the agency will also lead the Climate Change Fund which will be charged with managing funds secured from funding agencies for climate adaptation. Furthermore the agency will have a Climate Compatible Knowledge Institute, which will give scientific support to agency execution. “Basically our agency is established to consolidate Suriname’s climate change adaptation efforts. We’re here to combine and complement the work of other institutes. When you want results in these matters it’s best to execute from one central point; a multitude of institutes that sometimes work across each other doesn’t work. Hence our climate compatible development strategy,” Goedschalk explains.