Governments, businesses and stakeholders have not taken steps at all levels to achieve or implement plans for sustainable production and consumption, and to keep the impacts of use of natural resources within safe, ecological limits.
This is according to a report on the State of Biodiversity in the Caribbean Community published by CARICOM.
The report states, “Ecosystems providing critical support to the development and wellbeing of the Caribbean Community’s citizens, a very diverse population of 20 Million people living in one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots, are seriously threatened by the effects of habitat destruction, pollution, invasive alien species and climate variability.”
Guyana, Belize, Jamaica and Saint Lucia are the only CARICOM nations that have reported notable progress, by means of holding those major figures to heel, in implementing sustainable mechanisms for the management and consumption of natural resources, including the wellbeing of marine and terrestrial life forms.
Other countries, it states, did not consider this strategy a priority in their National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan.
Guyana is among only a few countries that have made significant efforts to keep use of its natural resources within sustainable limits, in-keeping with the Aichi targets (A system of targets set for United Nations member states on biodiversity management).
Though Guyana is not one of the countries that has met all of the Aichi targets, its efforts are of much significance since the country accounts for about half of CARICOM’s landmass.
The report states that Guyana has given considerable attention to issues of equitable and participatory management of protected areas. The Government has declared more than 4,045 square kilometers of land as the Konashen-owned community area (COCA), to be managed by the indigenous Wai Wai people, who were given formal title to land.
Guyana’s Amerindian Communities have also played a key role in the development and operations of the Iwokrama International Centre for Rainforest Conservation and Development.
The report also notes that Guyana participates in the United Nations’ REDD+ programme (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation), which incentivises developing countries to conserve and sustainably manage their forests as a contributor to climate change mitigation.
Guyana has undertaken the responsibility to map important ecosystems and biodiversity areas and will incorporate the information produced into national land uses and protected areas planning.
Guyana and Suriname, which have significant forestry sectors, both maintain official production statistics pertaining to use of timber.
Though Guyana, like Suriname, records consistent increases in timber production, the country, since 1990, has decreased the percentage of its forests designated for production by 13%.
The report maintained that Guyana is unique in its focus on ecosystems that provide fundamental support services, with main priorities for action being the promotion of soil health within the managed ecosystem of cultivated, agricultural lands.
Guyana was also lauded for its Low Carbon Development Plan and Mangrove Restoration Project.
The Living Planet Index 2018; a report by global advocacy group, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) had warned about the destruction that the earth currently faces as a result of human consumption.
The report, which is based on the study of 16,700 populations of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians, states that there has been an overall decline of 60% in the population sizes of vertebrates between 1970 and 2014.
The report pointed out five major indicators of humanity’s footprint on the earth, namely grazing land, forest product, fishing grounds, cropland, built-up land and carbon.
The Living Planet Index shows that species population declines are especially pronounced in the tropics, with South and Central America suffering an 89% loss compared to 1970. Additionally, almost 20% of the Amazon, referred to as the lungs of the planet, has disappeared in just 50 years.
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