The Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) will soon be able to access funds from the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF), moving closer to restoring the commission to its rightful place.
Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman, told a press conference yesterday, that while the commission has been experiencing some financial difficulties, the government, through his ministry, is working to return it to full viability, making “it even better than before.”
Included in the efforts are the use of funds from the Guyana/Norway Agreement and the sale of the High Street, Georgetown building.
“Cabinet has given its “in principle” support, and I have written to Minister of State, her ministry is the one under which the Office of Climate Change and project management office come… asking for us to start the process of actualising that Cabinet decision which came at the beginning of this year,” the minister told the media.
The minister said the GFC’s financial situation has been engaging the government’s attention, even as it continues to work with the management and union. Talks are also ongoing with the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) about ways through which the cost of related matters could be shared.
In July 2018, Guyana was able to secure close to $27Billion following fruitful talks in Oslo, Norway. The fund was made accessible after the government of Norway was impressed with this administration’s 2025 energy-mix proposal, Guyana’s deforestation rate of 0.05 (one of the lowest) and President David Granger’s role in championing sustainable development.
Addressing the sale of the High Street building, Minister Trotman said the stakeholders are working to ensure a transparent process.
“GGMC has a transport and has invested some money, along with the Forestry Commission has also invested. We are at a position where the building will be sold as is. The ministry will commence the process,” he said.
GFC has been complaining that it is cash-strapped, after two transfers, totaling almost $1B were made prior to 2015.
Staffers have complained of delays in salaries.
Meanwhile, the Natural Resources Minister stated that the forestry commission is transitioning from being just the overseer of the movement and trader of logs and timber to becoming a conservator of forests. He reported a 0.052 deforestation rate for 2018, one of the lowest rates ever recorded regionally and globally.
“The demands are high now. We have high demands being placed on us to ensure under the GSDS (Guyana Sustainable Development Strategy) Forestry in the decades ahead will not be the place that collects royalties for logs, but the place that ensures that the forests are preserved for generations to come. We have started to put our hands around it, things are happening at a very rapid pace right now,” he assured.
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