US$115M in payments received so far under Guyana-Norway forest pact

- only four GRIF projects at implementation stage

Over four years into a five-year agreement between Guyana and Norway for Guyana to be paid to protect its forests, only US$115 million out of a potential US$250 million in performance-based payments has been awarded and only four projects are in the implementation stage.

The Guyana-Norway forests partnership is set to end in 2015 though officials have expressed hope that it could be extended. Thus far, Guyana has only earned US$115 million with payments last being announced in 2011. For 2012, Guyana’s deforestation rate has risen above a benchmark level and thus far there has been no announcements on the payment for that year, which is expected to be cut. Minister of Natural Re-sources and the Environ-ment Robert Persaud told Stabroek News recently that discussions are ongoing on the payment for Year 3 (2012) and are expected to be finalised soon.

Earlier this year, Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh said that for 2013, Guyana utilised $833 million of the funds earned from under the partnership. Another $839 million was spent in 2012, bringing the total expenditure on the Norway-funded projects to $1.672 billion or approximately US$8.3 million. The Norway financing, potentially US$250 million over five years up to 2015, is being managed by the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF). The World Bank is the Trustee of the GRIF.

Singh subsequently told the National Assembly in his Budget 2014 presentation that four GRIF projects, with a combined approximate value of US$30 million, were in their implementation phases. Under the US$7 million Institutional Strengthening project, he said, significant progress was made towards the development …..To continue reading, login or subscribe now.

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