Guyana partners with Suriname, French Guiana to combat illegal forest activities

Several enforcement bodies were trained at a joint workshop the administration hosted in collaboration with the governments of Suriname and French Guiana to address issues related to illegal forest activities, including gold mining.

In his address at the closing of the workshop last Thursday, Minister of Agriculture Robert Persaud said he was pleased with the participation of the neighbouring governments in the training as it is both timely and relevant as the country pursues national development objectives. “Guyana has always prided itself as a country… able to manage and ensure that the utilisation of its natural resources is done in a sustainable way and also conforms to international standards,” he said, according to a Government Information Agency (GINA) press release.

Some of the participants at the workshop. At right of podium is Georges Marceau, Police Attaché, in charge of Regional Cooperation, Embassy of France in Guyana. (GINA photo)

Persaud also noted that within the context of the Low Carbon Development Strategy, government has a unique agreement with Norway which will see it receiving payments for environmental services that the forests provide.

Regarding illegal mining and the collaboration of enforcement agencies, Persaud posited that, “Guyana was successful in eradicating illegal logging; however the issues of illegal mining and activities of some of the mining operations leave much to be desired.”

To this end, government has started re-organising the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission—which is tasked with regulating the mining sector—so that it can manage mining operations more efficiently.

Georges Marceau, Police Attaché in Charge of Regional Cooperation at the French Embassy in Guyana, noted that the French embassy is pleased to have mounted the training in accordance with the bilateral cooperation which exists between the two countries.

He also noted that it is the first time that the three countries, referred to as “the Plateau of the Guianas,” have been united on one spot to discuss nature conservation and problems of illegal gold mining and the threats to their forests.

As part of its activities to stem illegal mining, Guyana has developed a national-scale Monitoring, Reporting and Verification System (MRVS) for forests, by using both traditional means of monitoring and verifying and employing the latest technology, including satellite imagery. GINA said the training the participants received will reinforce what is needed to be done to improve the national systems in terms of managing and protecting national resources.
In 2009 Persaud, at the invitation of the French Government, met with senior officials to discuss collaboration in forest protection, among other national development strategies.

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