Protected Areas Commission gets going

The German Government and KfW are supporting Guyana’s efforts at protecting biodiversity through the continuation of the Guyana Protected Areas System as the Board of the Protected Areas Commission gets its work started following passage of legislation in the National Assembly last year.

The launching of phase two of the Guyana Protected Areas System took place at Jenman House, in the compound of the Botanical Gardens yesterday.

This phase will focus not only on the Protected Areas Commission but also the institutions involved directly or indirectly in the Low Carbon Development Strategy and protected areas.

Dr. Martin Lux, Senior Pro-gramme Manager of German Development Bank (KfW) said at the launching that his institution is pleased to be supporting Guyana’s efforts in creating protected area systems since 2006, commencing with the first phase which ended in mid-2011.

Now that phase one has been completed and phase two is just beginning, phase three will start next year and go until 2018. While phase two received a grant of 5 million Euros of which 4 million Euros will be set aside for the Protected Areas Trust Fund, phase three would see the disbursement of a grant of 4.3 million Euros.

Dr. Lux said that the first phase was finalised in the middle of 2011 and “we are now in the middle of implementing phase two and at this very moment [looking at] phase three that is proposed to start in 2013.”

“We appreciate very much the progress that has been made by the Government of Guyana especially with respect to the Protected Areas Act for the legal basis for protected areas management and the recent declaration for the new protected areas of Shell Beach and Kanuku Mountains,” he said.

“In this respect I think we can be very positive and optimistic that future support that is upcoming now will be of added value to the Government of Guyana, especially in the context of linking the protected areas management, protection of natural resources and tropical forests with the Low Carbon Development Strategy and REDD-plus strategies of Guyana. I feel that we have a very good opportunity to put some new ideas and innovative approaches in this respect and implement the broader institutional set up,” he said.

Chairman of the Board of the Protected Areas Commission, Shyam Nokta said, “We have been tasked with overseeing the establishment of the Protected Areas Commission and this Commission is a direct follow up of the recently passed Protected Areas Act in Parliament.”

He called the commencement of phase two a very significant step in Guyana’s efforts towards establishing and managing protected areas. “KfW and the German Government in particular have from the inception of this project going way back to 1994 have shown a very strong commitment and involvement towards supporting protected areas in Guyana,” he said.

“We see the GPAS project and the various phases that have been implemented so far and a commitment to another phase as another demonstration of the support and commitment of the German Government to help us in this effort,” said Nokta.

He said that the Board is now working with the various institutions and organisations involved in protected areas development “to look at how we could now move forward and to expand the programme of activities.”

He said that the Board will also be working with communities on the ground in order to be able to improve the management of existing protected areas and to look at the newly established ones of Shell Beach and the Kanuku Mountains, “to see how we could manage them [with a view to] achieving the biodiversity conservation objectives [and] managing protected areas for the benefit of Guyanese.”

Speaking at the launching, Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment Robert Persaud said that with the legislation in place the contribution of Germany in making all of this possible is significant. He also thanked the people and Government of Germany for their intervention.

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