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WWF contributes $10M towards GFC’s REDD+ Readiness Planning

World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Country Manager – Dr. Patrick Williams presents the $10M cheque to Guyana Forestry Commission, Head of Planning and Development – Pradeepa Bholanauth. Looking on is the Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, Robert Persaud

The Government of Guyana has embarked on a national programme that aims to protect and maintain the state’s forests in an effort to reduce global carbon emissions while attracting resources to foster economic growth, GINA reported.

Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) is a model that sets out a vision for economic development and climate change mitigation, enabled by payments for forest carbon in a mechanism, of sustainable resource utilisation and development.

In this regard, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) which is a staunch supporter of forest conservation today presented a cheque valued $10M to the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC). At the handing over ceremony held at the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment, Brickdam, WWF Guyana’s REDD+ and Protected Areas Lead, Chuck Hutchinson noted that the grant will be put towards the advancement of the LCDS that fulfills the terms of Guyana’s bilateral agreement with Norway.

The WWF 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.

Hutchinson emphasised that the WWF believes that Guyana’s biomass which covers 80% of land area, and its abundant water supply and rich biodiversity are assets that will become more valuable over time.

Minister of Natural Resources and Natural Resources, Robert Persaud expressed appreciation to the WWF for its continued support and engagement particularly with the LCDS and other initiatives undertaken by other agencies to make the strategy real while allowing 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.

Minister Persaud noted that Guyana has identified itself as being ahead of the game, and although the country has not been officially part of the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) where discussions are ongoing; steps are being taken as if Guyana is already in the partnership. He added that this speaks to a very high level of commitment to Guyana’s forest resources and the obligations made should be taken seriously.

Minister Persaud highlighted that the Guyana Forestry Commission has been doing a lot of work with regards to the REDD + especially with the development of the Monitoring, Reporting and Verification System (MRV) and partnering with Norway to do so.

“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,” he said.

While the project may not seem significant in size, it will add to the on-going 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 noted that the Commission approached the WWF for support for the development of 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.

She explained that five years ago a lot of work started on giving impetus to the LCDS with the GFC being identified as the focal agency for the implementation of REDD+. Thus far tremendous progress has been made in a number of key areas; MRV and work on preparedness, readiness, consultation and stakeholder engagement.

She highlighted that most recently several activities began on the examination of more technical aspects. These efforts fall under the umbrella of the Forest Carbon Partnership facilitated under the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF).

Bholanauth stressed that while Guyana has not formally commenced engagements with the SCPF it is hoped that this will happen within the next six to nine months.