Guyana is steaming ahead with consultations and sensitizations to build capacity that will allow it to be eligible for millions of dollars in cash to fight climate change.
The forest incentives will see Guyana tapping into the US$650M Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) fund. Some 47 countries are eligible to benefit too.
However, much work needs to be done to bring stakeholders up to speed locally.
Studies, according to Thomas Scheutzlich, a consultant for Globad CAD, said that only about 51 percent of organizations from Region Four knew about REDD+.
In the outlying communities, in the hinterland, where villages depend on the forest for a living, it was higher. As much as 64 percent had no idea. However, in the next few months, it is the intention to ramp things up.
That is because in December a three-year programme to build Guyana’s capacity will end.
The US$3.8M project involves help from the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank.
Yesterday, at a presentation attended by Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman, and Clayton Hall, Advisor on Sustainable Development, the consultant explained that the project is to support efforts of the Government to establish an enabling framework and build their capacity for REDD+.
The consultant has been sharing out thumb drives and posters to hinterland communities as part of the educational drive.
There have been ongoing consultations in seven regions with more meetings scheduled.
REDD incentivises a break from historic trends of increasing deforestation rates and greenhouse gases emissions. It is a framework through which developing countries are rewarded financially for any emissions reductions achieved, associated with a decrease in the conversion of forests to alternate land uses.
According to the officials yesterday, the consultations over the last few months have focused on indigenous populations and forest dependent communities.
Representatives of key organizations were also brought to the city for workshops.
Implementation to get Guyana REDD+ ready will start within months. According to Hall, there will be a need for a secretariat and resources to implement the measures to ready Guyana.
Trotman, meanwhile, says there is strong evidence that stewardship of the forests have improved significantly.
Audits have found Guyana’s forests to have the lowest deforestation rate despite a seemingly 85 percent high from mining activities. In fact, the low deforestation rate would come when Guyana has ramped up its gold production, breaking declaration records in recent years.
The low deforestation rate and high gold production is evidence that the country’s forests are being managed properly, Trotman said. He noted that gold recovery has improved.
A few years ago, Guyana signed a five-year agreement with Norway for US$250M to reduce deforestation.
That arrangement has been extended to allow Guyana to implement a few of its commitments.
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