The Kanuku Mountain area in Region Nine and Shell Beach in Region One have been declared protected areas by President Bharrat Jagdeo, Head of the Presidential Secretariat Dr. Roger Luncheon announced last Thursday.
In his post-Cabinet media briefing held at the Office of the President, Luncheon noted that these two areas join the existing protected areas while the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and regional communities continue investigations for other areas to be included in the national scheme of protected areas.
According to a Government Information Agency (GINA) press release, Luncheon explained that protected areas legislation, which was passed in the late stages of the Ninth parliament, provides for the creation of a protected areas commission which will be centrally located and tasked with implementing the provisions of the Act. It also provides for local administrative bodies, which are responsible for administering and executing the management plans in areas that have been declared protected areas.
The Protected Areas Act was implemented at a time when the world is renewing its focus on sustainable development due to the impacts of climate change, GINA said. It also noted that the Act brings Guyana in line with certain international obligations, one of which is Millennium Development Goal Seven which speaks to environmental sustainability.
The Act provides for the conservation of Guyana’s natural heritage and natural capital; the creation, management and financing of a national system of protected areas; maintenance of ecosystem services of national and global importance including climate regulation; establishment of a Protected Areas Commission and a protected areas trust fund, fulfillment of Guyana’s international environmental responsibilities as well as public participation in protected areas and conservation.