…Jagdeo to speak at World Economic Forum
By Tusika Martin
Guyana’s efforts at lobbying for the provision of incentives for the preservation of rainforests have been noticed by many international agencies and non-governmental organisations.
Speaking with the media during a press conference yesterday at his office, President Bharrat Jagdeo said that a number of NGOs around the world have been using Guyana, because of the studies and technical work the country did, as an example of a model in the preservation of standing forest.
The Head of State said that he intends to continue with the awareness-raising and with the discussions to ensure that Guyana and other developing countries get the desired outcome in the Copenhagen Agreement.
Guyana, among others, has been arguing that there is a need to refashion the Kyoto Protocol.
President Jagdeo has been one of the frontrunners in lobbying for the successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol to have a provision that adequately provides incentives for the preservation of rainforests.
The rainforest serves a vital role in the world in averting climate change and preserving biodiversity. But, according to the President, unfortunately, the services provided by the rainforests of the world are not remunerated, and this has to change for equality’s sake.
It also has to change for the sake of achieving the steep targets that are necessary to stabilise the climate, he said.
“We are arguing that the market is a critical aspect of this…We have been doing quite a bit of lobbying work…I think we are gaining traction now, and this is being gained in an expanded way.”
He noted that prior to the lobbing efforts there was an inordinate amount of focus on ‘a-forestation and re-forestation’ which would not help countries like Guyana.
At present, he added, there has been increasing attention paid to avoided deforestation.
“I was very pleased that I was invited to the World Economic Forum, to an interactive session to deal with deforestation. The World Economic Forum is limited to a few top leaders in business, academia and in the area of government around the world,” he added.
It is an important step for Guyana to be invited, and moreso to have a speaking slot during the meeting, the Head of State said.
He said that after the meeting in Switzerland, he will be visiting the Prime Minister of Norway.
Norway, he said, has been very helpful in the area of avoided deforestation.
“They have set aside about US$1B and they have already given huge sums of this to Brazil to deal with deforestation.”
The President will also be meeting with Prince Charles, who has been doing quite a bit of work in raising awareness of the need to preserve rainforest.
On December 5 last, President Jagdeo launched Guyana’s report on ‘Creating Incentives to Avoid Deforestation.’
This report was presented to the Climate Change Conference in Poznan, Poland.
During the launching, the Head of State pointed out that Guyana can earn between $4.3B and $23.4B depending on movement of commodity prices, with a most likely estimate of $5.8B as the country aggressively pursues economically rational land use opportunities.
The great majority of Guyana’s forests, he said, are suitable for timber extraction. There are large sub-surface mineral deposits within the forest, and rising agricultural commodity prices increase the potential returns to alternative forms of land use, all increasing the opportunity cost of leaving the forest alone.
The President highlighted Guyana’s past, present and future endeavours and gains once the land use opportunities are utilised properly.
His passion on the issue was highlighted when he noted that Guyana faces many challenges and opportunities that must be addressed in all forested countries to reduce deforestation.
According to the Head of State, the country has a strong track record in sustainable forestry practices. He added that economic pressures to increase value from forest resources in Guyana are growing.
The Head of State pointed out that a broad-based national consultation throughout the first half of this year will be facilitated on the paper.
The aim of the consultation, he said, is to ensure the involvement of Guyanese stakeholders in determining the allocation of resources secured under any future Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation mechanism, or interim arrangement.
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