One of the largest environmental organizations in the world, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Guianas yesterday signed a grant totaling US$151,250 with the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) to support the government’s bid to quantify the carbon storage capacity in its forests and stock assessment of Guyana’s forestry resources.
The grant for this project is provided under the WWF Guianas Sustainable Natural Resources Management Project 2007 – 2011.
At the signing ceremony in the GFC boardroom, WWF Regional Representative, Dominiek Pouvier, said that the organisation has been very supportive of President Bharrat Jagdeo’s actions in different parts of the world in order to get money for standing rain forests.
He added that WWF has been active in supporting the president’s pleas, especially at the latest conference.
Minister of Agriculture, Robert Persaud emphasized that the selection of Guyana in these emerging programmes is not a coincidence; rather, it demonstrates that the sustainable forest management practices and avoided deforestation policies are now being given due recognition internationally.
“Guyana reaffirms its commitment to the implementation of these best practices which contribute to ensuring that the adverse impacts of climate change are reduced.
However, we maintain our position that there must be tangible global compensatory market based mechanisms which reward countries like Guyana for maintaining an intact forest resources base,” Persaud said.
He explained that President Jagdeo, on behalf of Guyana, has made a strong case for the development of a new arrangement that recognizes avoided deforestation, provides positive financial incentives for developing countries that voluntarily reduce or maintain their lower than average historical greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation, and includes forest protection under the carbon trading mechanism.
This, however, requires the establishment of scientific methodologies that assess forest carbon stocks at a national level and that make projections for future emissions levels, Persaud said. The formulation and implementation of a national system to monitor emissions and emission reductions and which would be the basis for performance payments also needs to be established.
It was noted that to date, a national approach to assess forest carbon stock has not been developed for Guyana. According to Persaud, several aspects have however been addressed to some extent, especially in the assessment of change in land cover through remote sensing imagery analyses and forest inventory assessment.
Additionally, some work has begun in terms of biomass estimation in various soil types. However, a methodological assessment model still needs to be developed to assess forest carbon stock at the national level, building on the resources and results of steps already initiated.
He noted that developing and implementing a methodology for forest carbon stock assessment will provide the catalyst in support of Guyana’s efforts to maintain its standing forests – not only as a means of a direct mitigation intervention to reduce carbon emissions, but also within the context of opportunity costs, and the integral link to sustainable development and improved livelihoods for local communities and indigenous populations.
Minister Persaud said that the main outputs will include enhancing capacity at the national, regional and community levels to conduct continuous forest carbon stock assessment in Guyana; creating a formal structure and framework through the development of the methodology, to conduct national assessment and monitoring of forest carbon stock and enabling the generation of a continuous updated information database on forest carbon storage capacities which would be the basis for accessing global carbon financing mechanisms, negotiating performance based payments and positive incentives.
“Achieving these outputs can only be achieved through the proper and timely implementation of the very costly activities highlighted earlier.”
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