Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today is a very special day. We are about to sign two grant contracts with two Guyanese civil society organisations who will be partnering with three other CSOs. Together these two grants are worth GYD 182.4 Million and with the on-going civil society projects our support reaches more than GYD 312 Million currently.
This is an unprecedented support for civil society in Guyana and shows the importance the European Union attaches to civil society and their role in democracy and human rights. There is a strong partnership between the European Union and civil society.
Support to vulnerable groups, gender equality, equal opportunities and fight against any kind of discrimination based on language, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender or religion are fundamental values not only of the European Union, but the whole world. With this support the European would like to give its contribution to further promoting these rights and supporting civil society in this.
The two projects are addressing exactly these areas and this made them so convincing in the evaluation process. Support to the most vulnerable in our society, providing equal chances and opportunities, promoting an inclusive empowered society are the objectives of these projects. The partners will present their projects in more details in a minute; therefore I would like to stay general in my intervention.
However, allow me to underline that I am looking forward to the implementation of these projects very much. I hope that they will create a number of activities which will last, even and particularly beyond the duration of the projects. Only then we can say that the projects will have been successful. These projects can only be a first push in those areas; after the finalisation of the projects we expect from those organisations to build on the things achieved and to continue with activities.
I am very happy to see here representatives from the wider Guyanese civil society, also organisations that are currently not funded by any EU project. This is extremely important to us! Our signal is very clear: It is not mainly about funding a specific project, but it is mainly about the impact civil society has and will have in Guyana. And this important element we want to support because we are convinced that only there can be a fully functioning democracy with a vibrant, strong civil society sector.
Through our projects we would also like to enhance the dialogue between civil society and government. This is so important because political decisions shall include consultations with civil society, preferably even in a structured way. This ensures that all the voices in a country are heard before a decision is finally taken.
Last but not least, I would like to wish all the organisations a lot of success in the implementation of their projects.
Thank you very much for your attention.