– Country maintains verified low deforestation, illegality rates
Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Robert Persaud yesterday reaffirmed that Guyana stands on firm ground in asserting that its forest is well-managed and has consistently reflected a low deforestation rate of less than 0.1 percent and has reported a verified low rate of illegality.
He was at the time speaking at the closing of a weeklong international exchange workshop on Community Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (CMRVs) organised by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Guianas. The workshop was held at the Arrow Point Resort where participants had easy access to the country’s pristine forest and saw participants from Costa Rica, Mexico, Peru, Ecuador, Columbia, the Congo, Indonesia, Brazil, Nepal, United States, Great Britain, Austria, and the Netherlands.
Local participants were drawn from agencies such as the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC), WWF Guyana’s Office, North Rupununi District Development Board (NRDDB) and Iwokrama.
Measurement, Reporting and Verification Systems (MRVS) at the national and community level are an essential aspect of Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) and REDD+ programmes.
Minister Persaud said that the Government of Guyana aims to maintain the solid foundation set within the national MRVS, and will continue to look at ways not only at the national level, but also through working with international organisations like WWF, to achieve this goal.
The Minister called out sections of the media for publishing unsubstantiated, baseless and uniformed reports on the so-called negative impacts of activities in the extractive sector on the forest.
These statements, he said, “fall flat in the face of available evidence of an internationally credible, third party audited system, which confirms otherwise and the results are there for all to review.”
While some countries have only been focusing on deforestation, the MRVS has allowed for Guyana to monitor both deforestation and forest degradation aspects of forest carbon emission impacts.
Moreover, the national MRVS has been independently verified every year for the past three years by a third party international auditor, following international guidance for such audits, and all results made public.
“This is the level of comprehensiveness that we have embraced…the results of the MRVS therefore, validate the point that within the forest sector there remains a high level of forest legality and minimal impact on deforestation and forest degradation,” Minister Persaud said.
Guyana’s national MRVS is in an advanced stage of development, as its implementation commenced in 2009-2010. The country now has the capacity to do reporting on national level deforestation and forest degradation in keeping with international best practice.
This is also the first national scale system that is developed using high resolution satellite imagery at five meters resolution that is conducted annually.
WWF’s Country Manager, Dr. Patrick Williams in his remarks said, that his organisation is pleased to be partnering with Guyana which is the first country in the world that has a functioning, national scale MRV system. He reminded that Guyana is also home to two CMRV projects, which have received funding from the Norwegian Agency for Development Funding (NORAD).
He informed that WWF is looking at expanding the CMRV initiative to other areas such as communities surrounding the Shell Beach Protected Area.
Meanwhile, MRV Coordinator for WWF’s Forest Carbon Programme, Naikoa Aguilar-Amuchastegui said that Guyana’s CRMV model is one which they came to observe and learn from.
John Parsons from the Global Canopy Programme has been working closely with the various communities over the past three years on the CMRV programme; training them on the use of the relevant technologies.
“I can walk away from the communities in that area feeling assured that not only have they got a solid grasp on the technology that they are using, but they can also take the data themselves, understand it, report on that data locally to their own toshaos and make use of it in their villages, they can also report it to the national level and they can report it internationally,” Parsons said.
The Natural Resources Ministry has on several occasions, emphasised the importance of having a robust monitoring system for the south of Guyana.
The CMRV being developed in Konashen, which accounts for close to 600,000 hectares or 1.5M acres of forest in pristine south regions of Guyana, has been supported by the Government because of this prioritisation.
Minister Persaud said that, “we are pleased to be working with WWF to advance this common goal…we urge that consideration be given to ensuring such an effort is sustainable through the integrating of monitoring, reporting and verification elements at the community level. It is also imperative that the models being developed have the potential to be replicated at other communities in Guyana and also in similar cases, in other countries.”
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