The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) on Tuesday presented a cheque valued $10M to the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) towards its REDD+ Readiness Planning initiative.
WWF Guyana’s REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation)+ and Protected Areas Lead, Chuck Hutchinson, said the grant will be used to advance the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) that fulfils the terms of Guyana’s bilateral agreement with Norway. The grant will support an important aspect of the GFC’s REDD+ preparations which include research, stakeholder consultation, documentary and production of a report that will demonstrate Guyana’s progress toward REDD+ Readiness, a report from the Government Information Agency (GINA) said.
Meanwhile, Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment Robert Persaud expressed gratitude to the WWF for its continued support and engagement particularly on the LCDS and initiatives undertaken by other agencies to make the strategy real, in keeping with the goal of sustainably managing Guyana’s environment and forest resources.
“This particular project will support our REDD+ engagements, will allow us to have a better appreciation of where we are, allow us to know what areas that we need to identify and more or less how we are ready as a country to undertake our responsibilities and obligations in this regard,” he said, at the presentation ceremony held at his Brickdam office. According to Persaud, Guyana is “ahead of the game” and although it is not officially a part of the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) where discussions are ongoing; steps are being taken as though it is already in the partnership.
“This speaks to a very high level of commitment to Guyana’s forest resources and the obligations made should be taken seriously,” he said. Persaud also pointed out that the GFC has been advancing its work with the REDD+ initiative, particularly with the development of the Monitoring, Reporting and Verification System (MRV) which it has been partnering with Norway to do.
“We are the only country that has currently a national scale MRV and other countries have been looking to us for support and guidance, and certainly the work that we will undertake within this project will give impetus and support those activities…it will also allow us to take stock of where we are in terms of forest management and resources, and position us in how we take steps to ensure that we stay on course in terms of sustainable management and utilisation of our resources,” Persaud said. The project is expected to add to the ongoing efforts and reflect the partnership that has been developed with the WWF, and commitment to sustainable management of the forest.
GFC, Head Planning and Development, Pradeepa Bholanauth said the agency approached the WWF for support to develop a package that summarises the status of Guyana’s implementation of readiness activities with regards to reducing emissions and deforestation, and forest degradation in the context of sustainable forest management and conservation. According to Bholanauth, to date, “tremendous progress has been made in a number of key areas; MRV and work on preparedness, readiness, consultation and stakeholder engagement.” She also noted that recently several activities started on the examination of more technical aspects facilitated with support from the Forest Carbon Partnership via the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF). Bholanauth emphasised that while Guyana has not formally started engagements with the FCPF it anticipates this happening within the next six to nine months.