Guyana awarded US$3.8M grant to strengthen forest protection

A long-awaited project that will enable wider consultations on forest protection as well as aid in Guyana accessing more funding for protecting its forest is set to take off with the recent approval by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) board of a US$3.8 million grant for Guyana.

The grant is from the Readiness Fund of the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF). The FCPF was established in 2008 to finance REDD+ preparatory activities, and as a funding alternative for countries that demonstrate the reduction of greenhouse gases from deforestation and forest degradation. The World Bank is the trustee and secretariat of the FCPF.

Government had submitted a Readiness Preparation Proposal (R-PP) to implement several activities under the scheme and the proposal was approved by the Participants Committee of the FCPF in June 2009. It is an integral part of Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS).

Government had requested that the IDB perform the services as delivery partner through which Guyana will access grants from the FCPF and this was approved by the World Bank. The funding was long-awaited by the government.

In the Technical Cooperation (TC) document, the IDB says that the objective of the project is to assist the Guyana Government in their efforts to establish an enabling framework and build their capacity for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) by providing financial and technical assistance. Specifically, the TC will support: improvements in the organisation of the country for REDD+ readiness, including stakeholder consultations; and the preparation of the Guyana REDD+ Strategy to facilitate Guyana’s access to additional funding under performance-based incentives.

The IDB noted that Guyana has relatively low historical rates of deforestation, but if incentives are not directed to control deforestation and degradation, the deforestation rate and its associated emissions may significantly increase.

Component 1—Institutional arrangements and consultations for REDD+ readiness—seeks to strengthen the efficacy, accountability and transparency of the national readiness management and institutional arrangements, and increase stakeholder consultation and participation in REDD+ implementation.

It is expected that national readiness management institutions and arrangements will be established and operationalised. This institutions will include the REDD Secretariat (RS), the National Toshaos Council (NTC), the National REDD+ Working Group (NRWG), and a national conflict resolution mechanism.

It is envisioned that the RS, the NRWG and the NTC will be strengthened and capacity built. Support will also be provided to four Amerindian Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO), and community leaders.

The NTC has been reliant on funding from government and was not seen as being independent. The activities under the grant will include assessing the current institutional capacity of the NTC as well as provide institutional strengthening and capacity building so it is able to support consultation on REDD+ with forest-dependent Amerindian communities and villages.

Office space will also be provided for three permanent consultants as well as a space for meetings of 20 council members. The funds will see training for NTC and NGO members in REDD+; LCDS; Monitoring, Reporting and Verification Systems (MRVS); and accounting. In order to enable the NTC and Indigenous NGO to effectively participate in NRWG activities, office and communication equipment and materials will be provided, the document says.

Further, the TC will finance a consultant who will design, develop, consult and disseminate information to enable government and the REDD+ stakeholders to develop a functional and efficient conflict resolution/grievance mechanism for REDD+. “It will be based on existing legislations, structures and systems including that provided in the Amerindian Act 2006. An assessment of existing formal and informal feedback and grievance redress mechanisms will be performed as a basis to define the scope, functions and components,” according to the IDB.

Another subcomponent-stakeholder consultations and participation- aims to ensure that key stakeholders understand REDD+ and have strong participation in the readiness process and the REDD+ Strategy development. It will ensure that consultation processes are: clear, inclusive, transparent and facilitate timely access to information in a culturally-appropriate form, according to the IDB.

Under Component Two-REDD+ Strategy and implementation framework-the objective is to prepare the country to implement the REDD+ Strategy. This will include the verification and characterisation of the key drivers of deforestation and forest degradation identified in the R-PP, and design conservation and sustainable forest management activities that reduce emissions. It will also identify how current land use, and forest law, policy and governance structures impact on the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation; and propose alternatives for mitigating the identified drivers and responding to impacts.

The TC will finance a consulting firm that will identify and propose effective incentives for the implementation of actions to maintain Guyana’s deforestation rate, while building support for REDD+ nationally. The consultancy will prepare an assessment of deforestation and forest degradation. It will identify, design and assess REDD+ Strategy options, support the implementation of REDD+ pilot activities, and design the national REDD+ Strategy.

It is also envisioned that REDD+ Strategy options papers will be prepared and would include a feasibility assessment and a cost benefit analysis. In addition, an analysis of the investments necessary to implement REDD+ is expected to be done.

At least three small scale pilot projects in the sectors of logging, mining and community involvement in REDD+ are expected to be done. The pilots will test options and generate information for the analysis of the alternatives to address each deforestation driver in the three sectors.

An equitable and mutually agreeable benefit sharing mechanism is also expected to be established. The TC will finance a consultant or firm to: develop a transparent benefits sharing mechanism for REDD+; design the regulatory and/or incentive framework and performance-based benefit sharing scheme for Amerindian communities; and define regulatory and/or performance benefit-sharing schemes for other key groups of stakeholders (e.g. forestry and mining), the IDB says. The consultant will identify the requirements of international best practices for benefits sharing, including safeguards and opportunities, and challenges for the design of the benefit sharing mechanism.

The objective of Component Three-Monitoring and evaluation of readiness activities-is to provide a monitoring and evaluation framework for the implementation of the TC in Guyana.

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