Gov’t inks US$5M pact with Germany for third phase of protected areas project

The Guyana Government yesterday signed a US$5M agreement with the German Government for the implementation of the third phase of the Guyana Protected Areas Systems (GPAS) Project, which will largely focus on investment in protected areas at Shell Beach, Kaieteur and the Kanuku Mountains.

The agreement was signed at the Ministry of the Presidency between Minister of State Joseph Harmon and Regional Director of Germany’s Federal Foreign Office for Latin America and the Caribbean Ambassador Dieter Lamle.

A Ministry of the Presidency statement said the signing took place immediately after a meeting between President David Granger and Ambassador Lamle, who was accompanied by Germany’s Ambassador to Guyana Lutz Hermann Gorgens and Honorary Consul of Germany to Guyana Ben ter Welle.

ter Welle said that that the GPAS Project commenced some 10 years ago and it is being implemented in phases. The first phase saw the disbursement of €3M, some of which was allocated to the Iwokrama International Centre for Rainforest Conservation and  Development for training as well as on the setting-up of protected areas and the development of legislation. Phase II, he added, saw the disbursement of €4M, which went into the National Protected Areas Trust Fund, which was created through the passage of legislation and which that is managed by a board of trustees.

Minister of State Joseph Harmon signs the agreement as Germany’s Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean Ambassador Dieter Lamle (seated at right) looks on at the Ministry of the Presidency yesterday. Also looking on are (from left) Honorary Consul of Germany to Guyana Ben ter Welle, Germany’s Ambassador to Guyana Lutz Hermann Gorgens, Commissioner of the Protected Areas Commission (PAC) Damian Fernandes, Ms. Ndibi Schwiers-Ceres and Deputy Commissioner of the PAC Denise Fraser. (Ministry of the Presidency photo)
Minister of State Joseph Harmon signs the agreement as Germany’s Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean Ambassador Dieter Lamle (seated at right) looks on at the Ministry of the Presidency yesterday. Also looking on are (from left) Honorary Consul of Germany to Guyana Ben ter Welle, Germany’s Ambassador to Guyana Lutz Hermann Gorgens, Commissioner of the Protected Areas Commission (PAC) Damian Fernandes, Ms. Ndibi Schwiers-Ceres and Deputy Commissioner of the PAC Denise Fraser. (Ministry of the Presidency photo)

Of the US$5M that is made available in this third phase, ter Welle said US$4.2M will go towards investment in protected areas at Shell Beach, Kaieteur and the Kanuku Mountains, while the remainder will be directed towards green initiatives as it is one of the priority areas of the government.

According to the ministry, President Granger said that Germany has a long tradition of supporting green development in Guyana and this bodes well for the “green” trajectory that his government has embarked on. “We appreciate your support and we realise the value of our forests in the suppression of the effects of climate change… Let me assure that your interest in climate change and your support for the green agenda is well placed,” he told the Ambassador.

The President said that Guyana is part of the Guiana Shield, which is considered the lungs of the earth and that his government is committed to preserving the integrity of that Shield. He noted also that the work that Germany has been doing in the field of biodiversity and in supporting Guyana’s environmental thrust is essentially providing a global service.

The Head of State informed that Guyana has committed, at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21), not only to extend existing protected areas, but also to the creation of new ones. He explained that each of the 10 Administrative Regions in Guyana has unique and rare flora and fauna that must be preserved.

Meanwhile, Ambassador Lamle was reported as saying that he is extremely happy to be part of the protected areas project and to be in Guyana at a time when the two countries (Guyana and Germany) are celebrating 50 years of diplomatic relations.

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