Director General of Iwokrama Dr David Singh says that the new World Bank initiative to help countries protect forests is relevant to Guyana since it will support not only avoided deforestation, but also avoided degradation.
“The latter is far more relevant to Guyana with the nature of its forests and the type of activities within the forests found here,” Dr Singh said.
The World Bank is working to develop the new fund that would pay developing countries hundreds of millions of dollars for protecting and replanting tropical forests which store huge amounts of carbon and thereby fights climate change.
The fund is called the Forest Carbon Partnership facility and is part of the UN climate change negotiations in Bali in December.
The facility will provide financial incentives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation unlike the Kyoto Protocol which offers credits for replanting destroyed forests.
Dr Singh said that the World Bank has been promoting this fund quite a lot, intending to have the facility available after the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol (2012). The fund will initially have US$300M to finance emissions reduction and to help prepare countries with the necessary tools to monitor forests.
“It is very good to see that the proposal will be launched as early as this (at the Bali Meeting). It reinforces the message carried by the Government of Guyana that we must start accounting for the contribution of intact standing forests to maintenance of the carbon balance,” Dr Singh said.
According to Dr Singh, it must also be noted that the fund is to be used for capacity building to harness a future system of payments, and therefore the fund will not realise immediate economic benefits to countries like Guyana, “albeit it will help in the process to monetise the global public good attributed to standing forests.”
“At the time of the meeting of the Commonwealth Finance Ministers, we note that the Commonwealth comprises 30% of the world’s population and a total of 20% of the world’s forest cover. This announcement reinforces the growing value being placed by the premier financial institutions on conservation and the implications of ecosystem degradation on the world economy.”
According to a Reuters article, the proposed facility has already attracted interest from more than a dozen developing countries, including Indonesia, Brazil and several in Africa’s Congo River Basin. The World Bank expects to first test the mechanism in three to five countries. Part of the testing involves providing participating countries with the means to prove they are reducing rates of deforestation and those countries will have to prove that they are reducing deforestation.
Speaking at the opening of the Commonwealth Finance Ministers Meeting at the National Cultural Centre on Monday, President Bharrat Jagdeo said that Guyana was prepared to offer almost its entire forest to mitigate the effects of climate change.
The article said that deforestation contributes 20 per cent of total greenhouse gas emissions, more than all the world’s cars, trucks, trains and airplanes combined. Environmentalists say that protecting tropical forests from cutting and burning is the most direct and fastest way to mitigate some of the impacts of climate change. The article said that by creating economic value for tropical forests, the facility can help developing countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Suriname, Guyana and others to generate new revenue for poverty alleviation while maintaining the natural benefits such as fresh water, food and medicines that the forests provide local populations.