Grant aid for sustainable forest, gold ops signed

WWF Guianas yesterday launched the second phase of its regional environmental project entitled Guianas Sus-tainable Natural Resources Management Project and signed four grant agreements in the total amount of $86.14M.

The event took place at the Grand Coastal Inn on the East Coast of Demerara.

The agencies receiving the grants were the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC), the Hydrometeorological Ser-vice of the Ministry of Agri-culture and the Guyana Geo-logy and Mines Commission (GGMC).

These grants represent the first in a number of collaborative financial and technical arrangements that the WWF is seeking to embark upon for the environmental sector in Guyana.

The Phase II project covers the period of 2007 to 2011 and has a budget of 6.46M euros funded by the Dutch Directorate General for International Cooperation (DGIS), Fonds Francais Pour l’Environment Mondial (FFEM) and WWF-Nether-lands. The primary conservation focus of this project phase is on sustainable forest management, protected areas management, freshwater species conservation and gold mining pollution abatement in Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana.

Two grants totalling $40.3M have been allocated to the GFC and one of them is intended to be used for enhancing sustainable forest management in Guyana by encouraging improved practices, education and awareness in key forestry areas, institutional strengthening and conducting monitoring and research activities.

The second is aimed at strengthening and enforcing forest management regulations and improving the application of sustainable management practices in the Kwebanna and Batavia community forests.

The allocation to the GGMC is in the sum of $30M and is intended to complement ongoing efforts to reduce the pressure exerted on priority ecosystems in mining areas by promoting best practices and supporting and strengthening relevant institutions for improved management of the sub sector. In addition efforts will be made to foster the development, adoption and enforcement of practical and environmentally sound policies and regulations for the gold mining sub-sector and simultaneously bridge gaps that exist in the organisation’s attempts to minimise the impact of gold mining on the physical and human environment.

The funding for Hydromet amounts to $15.84M and is aimed at establishing a network of partnerships among stakeholders for effective freshwater resources management, enhancing the technical capability of Hydromet personnel to assess and monitor freshwater resources in Guyana and providing infrastructure to support the assessment and monitoring freshwater resources.

Speaking at the signing, Minister of Agriculture Robert Persaud said that it is important that there be promotion, education and sensitisation at all levels, of guidelines that the GFC, the GGMC and Hydromet have. And he said that there should be adequate monitoring to ensure that there is implementation of the guidelines or application of penalties and corrective action when breaches are identified.

He said that his ministry will do the checks and the WWF Guianas team will monitor the progress of the proposed activities under the grants to ensure that Guyana meets its obligations.

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