Guyana, Norway recommit to climate, forests collaboration

Norway’s Minister of Climate and Environment, Vidar Helgesen, and Guyana’s Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman, have restated their commitment to reach their shared goals as set out in the bilateral partnership on climate and forest, according to a report yesterday on the website of the Norwegian Government.

Trotman has been in Oslo as part of the planned renewal of a forest and climate pact which had been struck in 2009 to the value of US$250m and was to run until 2015. An extension to the project was granted by Norway after several deadlines were not met.

According to Norwegian sources a decision has been made to continue the partnership based on annual approval by the Norwegian Minister of Climate and Environment, until Guyana has reached its goals as stated in the MOU and adhering to the Joint Concept Notes

Norway’s Minister of Climate and Environment, Vidar Helgesen (left), and Guyana’s Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman, reiterated their commitment to reach their shared goals as set out in the bilateral partnership on climate and forest. Credit: Ministry of Climate and Environment
Norway’s Minister of Climate and Environment, Vidar Helgesen (left), and Guyana’s Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman, reiterated their commitment to reach their shared goals as set out in the bilateral partnership on climate and forest. Credit: Ministry of Climate and Environment

Yesterday’s report on the Government of Norway website  said the new arrangement was concluded at a bilateral meeting in the margins of the Oslo REDD Exchange conference. The two ministers announced that they will extend the current collaboration until Guyana has implemented all agreed key reforms in the forestry sector.

The report said that Guyana is set at keeping its deforestation rate amongst the lowest in the world, and to continue work to improve governance in the forestry sector. Guyana is also determined to abide by its commitment to fully transform its energy sector to clean and renewable energy. This is key to reducing the country’s emissions of greenhouse gases, Trotman was reported as saying.

Guyana and Norway’s partnership on climate and forest was initiated in 2009. Guyana had at that point already defined a national low carbon development strategy that outlined how the country could meet its ambitious targets for economic and social development, at the same time as keeping deforestation at a minimum and transforming its entire energy sector to clean and renewable energy. The report noted that Guyana is a High Forest Low Deforestation (HFLD) rate country. The deforestation rate for 2014, recently verified by a third party (lenke til tidl pressemld), was as low as 0,065%, which is among the lowest deforestation rates of tropical forest countries.

The report pointed out that Norway has committed to contribute up to 250 million US dollars to Guyana if the country keeps its deforestation rate low and attains key forest governance targets. So far, Norway has disbursed about 150 mill. USD, for Guyana’s achieved results.  Of this, 70 mill. USD has been transferred to Guyana REDD+ investment fund – GRIF (administered by the World Bank), and 80 mill. USD has been set aside at an account with the Inter-American Bank to cover Guyana’s equity share in the proposed Amaila Falls Hydropower project. Guyana and Norway are currently conducting a review of the latter project to reach a fact-based decision on its feasibility.

The report on the Government of Norway website said that efforts to improve governance in Guyana include the development of a roadmap for initialing an agreement with the European Union  on combatting illegal logging by the end of 2016, as well as plans to become an Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI)  candidate this year. EITI is a global standard to promote open and accountable management of natural resources.

In addition, the Guyana Forestry Commission has recently published data on all forest concessions held in the country on its website in a bid to heighten public transparency.

The report added that indigenous peoples make up 10% of Guyana’s population. “Making sure that these groups’ rights are being respected, for example by involving them in all relevant decisions and processes, is important to both Guyana and Norway.

A project that enables Guyana’s indigenous communities to take part in the work to keep deforestation low and to be remunerated for the results, is currently receiving support under the partnership, from the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund”, the report said.

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