Pact signed for $26M grant for management of protected areas expansion

Guyana’s National Protected Areas System (NPAS) is now the beneficiary of $26 million worth of grants from Conservation International-Guyana (CI), which will go towards building the capacity of the Protected Areas Commission (PAC) and the Protected Areas Trust (PAT) to effectively manage the expanding NPAS.

A joint press statement issued by the PAC, PAT and CI-Guyana, said that separate agreements were signed during the week that International Day of Forests, World Water Day and Earth Hour were celebrated, on March 23, 2017.

The pacts were signed in the boardroom of the Department of Environment, witnessed by Director of the Department Ndibi Schwiers.

The release quoted Schwiers as saying, “I think this is happening at a good time… President Granger mentioned that an additional two million hectares will be protected and this will help in the achievement of our government’s vision.

From left standing: Major General (retd) Joseph Singh, Chairman, Board of Trustees of the Protected Areas Trust; Executive Director of CI-Guyana Dr David Singh; Director of the Department of Environment Ndibi Schwiers; and Ben terWelle Vice Chair of the Protected Areas Trust. From left sitting: Acting Commissioner of the Protected Areas Commission Denise Fraser; CI-Guyana Technical Director Curtis Bernard; and Executive Director of the Protected Areas Trust Geeta Devi Singh.

“What will result from this, will help us with determining how we move forward and how fast we will move forward; we’re very pleased to partner with CI… CI has really been a trusted partner.”

The PAC has been awarded a US$100,000 grant that is expected to enhance its capacity to realize the expansion of the NPAS through strategic planning and organizational capacity development.

“One key deliverable of the funding will be the production of a baseline study and strategy for the expansion of the NPAS which will recognize the critical importance of involvement of people in biodiversity conservation. The PAC will also increase its capacity and skills in several areas across the organization,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, the PAT will receive a US$25,000 grant to build its ability to finance management of the expanding protected areas system by producing a fundraising plan, materials and capacity to promote the organization’s vision and mandate.

“If we are going to talk about strategically expanding the protected areas system then we have to talk about strategically building the financial capabilities to at least be able to support minimal management of the system as it is now and as it expands,” CI-Guyana Technical Director, Curtis Bernard was quoted as saying.

CI-Guyana will also provide technical and other support to the PAC and PAT.

CI-Guyana’s Executive Director Dr David Singh pointed out that the Government of Guyana, having signed the Paris Climate Change Agreement, has committed under its Emissions Reduction Programme to conditionally realize conservation of an additional two million hectares of terrestrial areas.

According to Singh, the support provided by CI-Guyana will not only contribute to the meeting of this commitment but also meets a longstanding commitment under the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity.

“The work that we all do with respect to conservation of our ecological resources…is really a big anchor of Guyana’s sustainable development efforts,” the release quoted Singh as saying.

“Since independence, successive governments have always been aware of this need… In 1989 Iwokrama was established, in 2009 the government launched its Low Carbon Development Strategy and signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Kingdom of Norway, and today the Department of Environment is leading the preparation a green development strategy… Work with the PAC and PAT is necessary to realize Guyana’s commitment,” he added.

Also giving brief remarks at the signing, the release said, was Executive Director of the PAT Geeta Devi Singh who said that the project was part and parcel of the Trust’s vision and strategic plan and will enable the meeting of key objectives.

And PAC Acting Commissioner, Denise Fraser identified partnership as a key component of conservation and green development work.

“Managing an efficient National Protected Areas System must include the involvement of partners, stakeholders and government in order to result in a world class product,” she was quoted as saying.

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