Proposed biodiversity research centre should impact policy-making process

-workshop told

The proposed International Centre for Biodiversity Research (ICBR) and Low Carbon Development (LCD) to be established here should have direct input in the policy-making process and its research can be applied for development planning in Guyana.

This is the view of one of the experts who participated  in the three-day stakeholder consultation and technical workshop on the proposed establishment of an Inter-national Centre for Biodiver-sity Research (ICBR) and Low Carbon Development (LCD) at the International Conference Centre at  Liliendaal, which concluded Thursday with a presentation on the results of the technical working sessions and a roundtable discussion.

Participants included the UG faculty, governmental and non-governmental organizations and international experts in the related fields, said a press release from the Public Relations Division of the University of Guyana.

Andrew Rosenberg

Dr Andrew Rosenberg, Chief Scientist and Senior Vice-President of Conserva-tion International where he oversees the development of tools and processes that empower decision makers with the information they need to make sound, sustainable development decisions, feels strongly that, “A Centre of this kind should have direct input in the policy-making process.

While it’s doing research, it’s really also trying to make sure that the research is applied for the development planning in Guyana.”

He viewed the consultation process as essential to take to a broad range of stakeholders because they need “to feel some ownership – that they have not only been consulted but that the Centre will address some of their needs.”

Meanwhile, UG Vice-Chancellor Professor Lawrence Carrington said that the discussions were extremely insightful.

“The expert group of persons from outside Guyana was in a position to relate our desires to their own experiences of either managing or creating institutions of a similar nature. They were able to give a number of important guidelines for dealing  with some thorny issues that we would have to face, and reference points for making decisions premised on matrices that people have worked out before because of their own experience.”

Lawrence Carrington

At the conclusion of the consultation and workshop, the participants expressed the view that there should be broader collaboration with stakeholders.

Vice-Chancellor Carrington said that the report from the consultation would be sent to other stakeholders who were not able to be present to make their input. “That in itself would then constitute a basis on which we can formulate the nature of a feasibility study that is already provided for through a loan agreement between the government of Guyana and the World Bank,” the Vice-Chancellor added.

And Guyanese Dr Ulric Trotz, Science Advisor at the Caribbean Climate Change Centre in Belize emphasized that the Centre “will build Guyana’s capability to properly manage our natural resources in such a way that the population as a whole will benefit.” Trotz, a former Dean in the Faculty of Natural Sciences at UG, also highlighted the need for the Centre to be relevant to the needs of the people.

Another expert, Dr Graham Watkins, Environ-mental Specialist advising on development policy at the Inter-American Development Bank and a former Director of the Iwokrama International Centre for Rainforest Conservation Development highlighted the need for the university to seek both local and foreign alliances, specifically with organizations that are engaged in work of a  similar nature.  He also noted the need to provide continuity in the marketing of biodiversity initiatives in Guyana and the importance of incorporating biodiversity and eco-service issues in the national accounting systems, the release stated.

Dr Edward Stashko, Vice-President of Global Pro-grammes and Partnerships at the Organisation of Tropical Studies observed that while the sessions have been remarkable, he would view the consultations a success “not if we have all the answers but if we asked all the right questions.”  Dr Stashko is responsible for international education and research programmes in South America. He has been working with consultants in Guyana for the past four years in the areas of education and training in conservation and environmental protection.

The process of planning for ICBR began with a  response to the LCDS prepared by an inter-disciplinary team from UG.

The university began to develop a concept document for the venture and it has now reached the stage where key stakeholder inputs and a technical review are required to refine the concepts, the release added.

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