Up to the end of March, Norway had not deposited the US$45 million that Guyana qualified for in 2012 under the two countries’ forests protection plan, according to the latest report from the World Bank.
Norway late last year had announced that it would contribute US$45 million to the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF) bringing the total contribution from Oslo under the Norway-Guyana climate and forest partnership to US$115 million since 2009.
The GRIF is a fund for the financing of activities identified under the Government of Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS). The fund will receive up to US$250 million from Norway in performance-based payments for the period up until 2017, based on an independent verification of Guyana’s deforestation and forest degradation rates and progress on REDD+ enabling activities. The World Bank is the trustee and is responsible for providing financial intermediary services to the GRIF.
The latest report from the World Bank revealed that as of March 31, 2013, cumulative contributions to the GRIF amounted to US$69.8 million – the same as in 2011. Up to that point, based on the GRIF Steering Committee funding decisions, the trustee has recorded a total of US$14.3 million in funding decisions while US$9.2 million was transferred for projects up to March 31.
Former minister of the Environment and International Development of Norway, Erik Solheim had said that Guyana must justify the need for the funding of new projects in order to trigger the release of additional tranches of funds under the Norway-Guyana agreement and the money already disbursed must be spent before more could be released.
Director of Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative Per Fredrik Ilsaas Pharo had also said that money already disbursed into the GRIF must be spent before more could be released. “It is correct that according to general rules for disbursement of funds set by the parliament, money cannot be disbursed until a significant portion of the money in the GRIF is utilized,” Pharo had said. “This is a technical aspect of the parliament’s general rules, and not special for Guyana,” he added.
Guyana had initially proposed seven projects to be funded via the GRIF including an Institutional Strengthening project, an Amerindian Development Fund (ADF), the Amerindian Land Titling project, the Micro and Small Enterprise Development and Building Alternative Livelihoods for Vulnerable Groups project, the Cunha Canal Rehabilitation project, the Biodiversity Research Centre and the Amaila Falls Hydroelectric Project.
These projects are in various stages of implementation and several other projects have been proposed.