CI may facilitate flow of funds under Norway-Guyana forest partnership

Conservation International (CI)-Guyana is expected to once again facilitate the flow of funds from Guyana’s forests partnership with Norway for low carbon development consultations here.

“We have supplied the project concept to the Government of Norway for its review,” head of CI-Guyana, Dr David Singh told Stabroek News last week. He said that Guyana and Norway had asked CI to assist in facilitating the flow of funds for consultations and CI has formally written to Oslo indicating its collaboration with the Guyana government on this project. This came after the project could not be expedited through the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

“We are presently awaiting feedback from Norway to move forward,” Dr Singh said. He could not say whether the funds will be disbursed outside of the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF) as had previously been done with Monitoring, Reporting and Verification project and said that this has to be decided by Georgetown and Oslo.

In addition to facilitating the flow of funds and project management services, CI will also be providing some oversight and contributing to the sustainability of the project, Dr Singh said.

The Office of Climate Change last month released the fourth annual progress report on REDD+ Enabling Activities, which covers the period July 1, 2012 to June 15th, 2013. The report was prepared by the Government of Guyana (GoG) to reflect its progress over the reporting period. Since the end of 2009, the GoG has published an annual report documenting progress in completing the enabling activities, as these are described, and on an annual basis updated, in the Joint Concept Note of the partnership.

This is required under Guyana’s forests partnership with Norway, under which the country will receive up to US$250 million from Oslo 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.

Consultations with communities on the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) have virtually been halted over the past months with government citing limited funds.

However, the OCC said that a Project Concept Note (PCN) titled ‘Support for the Implementation of LCDS Outreach and Awareness activities in the Hinterland and Coastal Communities of Guyana’ was completed by OCC in February 2013. “The process of developing the PCN into a project through the IDB process was found to be too lengthy and it became necessary to seek alternative approaches. An alternative approach was explored with IDB that involved piloting a new fee-for-service mechanism, however Norway was not able to prioritise this. A third option of delivering the project through Conservation International Guyana is being explored with a view to starting the project in August 2013,” it said.

The project will address general information concerning climate change and REDD+, LCDS and the Norway Guyana partnership, specific information on Amerindian Land Titling, the Opt-In Mechanism, the EU Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) programme, the Extractive Indus-tries Transparency Initiative (EITI), Independent Forest Monitoring, GRIF projects and other relevant information. The project will recognise necessity of tailored and non-internet based information to indigenous groups and others without stable internet access, the report said.

The last audit of Guyana’s performance as it relates to consultations had given Guyana a failing grade.

In its August report, the OCC said that the PCN for was prepared with the objectives of ensuring the rights of stakeholders including coastal communities, indigenous peoples and other local forest communities to participation, engagement and decision making in the LCDS planning and implementation process;  developing a systematic and transparent framework that enables the participation and feedback of stakeholders including coastal communities, indigenous peoples other local forest communities in the LCDS planning and implementation process; and supporting the overall goals and objectives of Guyana’s LCDS.

The PCN proposed four different components: Component 1: National communications planning and implementation; Component 2: Sub-national outreach and awareness; Component 3: Targeted awareness and capacity building, and; Component 4: Design and preparation of educational materials and tools.

“Together, the four components provide a comprehensive package to meet the information needs of communities and villages in the hinterland and on the coast as well as the wider national stakeholder audience,” the report said.

After the project approval process could not be facilitated due to several reasons, Norway and Guyana took steps to explore alternative approaches that would facilitate project implementation ahead of a GRIF schedule and CI-Guyana (CIG) to serve as a conduit to channel GRIF funds for the execution of this project given their experience with facilitating the flow of funds for the Monitoring, Reporting and Verification System (MRVS) in 2010.

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